Everyone else says be student-centered, but I say we need to be teacher-centered first! 

That’s right.  Is it a little hard to hear? 

I understand.  We are always told that we need to be student-centered, right?  Well… no, not exactly…

Before you click off, hear me out!  What I’m about to say may be just what you need to hear.

In order to have a student-centered classroom, we need to have teacher-centered professional development.


Teacher-Centered vs. Student-Centered


I’m not just talking about taking care of yourself and putting on your oxygen mask first.  That’s important, but right now I’m talking about legit PD that focuses on YOU, not the kids.

My name’s Elizabeth Peterson and I’m a huge advocate for teacher-centered PD.  I don’t just talk the talk, I walk the walk.  For over 15 years I’ve been giving Arts integrated workshops, courses and retreats for teachers like you that allow you to dig into the material in hands-on, age appropriate ways.

Even age-appropriate for YOU!


Put yourself in your students’ shoes!


I remember having my first taste of teacher-centered PD when Dr. Chen came to my district to teach us about the new Common Core math standards. He didn’t stand in front of us and lecture us about math concepts, instead he brought us math problems to work through.  Hard ones.  Some things I hadn’t seen since high school. 

He put us right inside the shoes of our kids by giving us equations and word problems that were age appropriate to us and used those experiences to help us talk about and dissect the math practices and standards we were going to teach.

It was engaging and inspiring.  It changed the way I approached math that year.


Here are THREE reasons why you want to have teacher-centered experiences for your professional development!


Reason #1 – Get Inspired in order to BE Inspiring!

When you participate in teacher-centered PD, you learn something in a way that is engaging and inspiring to you.  When this happens you are way more likely to turn it around and teach it to your students in an engaging and inspiring way! 

That’s what I love about my Teacher Retreats – even the virtual ones.  All the workshops have time built in for you to create and try out the methods you are learning about.  

Take last summer for example. We had this one workshop from Melissa Edwards where we learned how to create a gratitude mandala. It was a hit and the retreaters not only loved the idea, but enjoyed making their own.  Then, that fall so many students spend the first days of school making their own gratitude mandalas. 

What an amazing way to start the school year!

It goes along with our motto here at The Inspired Classroom. 


You have to GET inspired in order to BE inspiring.  


Reason #2  Happy Teachers! = Happy Kids!

When you invest yourself into teacher-centered PD where you experience the learning first yourself, you are happier.  

It’s kind of just a fact.  

You smile while you’re learning.  Then, smiling sends messages to your brain that you’re happy.  After that, you walk into your classroom smiling.  Smiling is contagious, so your students start to smile.  Then, their brains get the message that they are happy.  Then, you start doing fun, happy assignments that are engaging and fun and all the while you’re learning!  So, then you’re happy and you smile some more and your students start to smile because smiling is contagious. 🙂   

Phew…  You get it, right?

Your attitude beams off of you and onto your students.  Go in grumpy – well don’t expect much.  Go in happy and excited about the lessons you are going to teach – you and your students have a much better chance of having a classroom of engaged, happy students.  

Where does this all start?  From YOUR initial experiences learning the new arts integrated strategies.  

I mean, LOOK at these faces.  These are the faces of happy engaged teachers as they participate in teacher-centered professional development!


Want in?  Of course you do!  

Well, I have great news, this year you can join the Retreater Community for FREE!  Once you’re inside, you can participate in the weekly artistic challenges, workshops and discussions that make for these kinds of smiles.  

And it’s free!  Just go to theinspiredclassroom.com/retreatforfree 

I’ll put the link in the resources section, too.

Reason #3 – Flexibility

Teacher-centered takes the focus off of subject-centered or age-centered.

Here’s where the beauty of Arts integration and SEAL really come into play: flexibility.


You’re a professional.  You know your content and you know your students.  So when you learn a new skill, technique or strategy, you are automatically going to figure out ways to modify and adjust it to fit your needs.


That’s what you can do when your professional development is centered on YOU.  You learn by doing the new skill and then figure out how your students can use this in the classroom.

For example, this year at the Virtual Teacher Art Retreat, we are going to have a workshop in cartooning.

How cool right?

All the teachers are going to learn alongside Merek Bennett and create some cartoons.  But, here’s the key.  As you learn with Merek, you’ll also be thinking, “How can I use this with my kids?”  The ideas are going to start filling your head!

If you get stuck, no worries.  That’s what the Retreater Community is for!  You can ask a question or bounce ideas off of other caring, creative teachers!

So – Are you curious to know if the professional development you are signing up for is actually teacher-centered?  You’ll want to check out this video next where I pose 5 questions you can ask to determine if your PD is indeed teacher-centered.  https://youtu.be/4wt8T9I51KU 

It’s time to make sure you are getting your fair share of teacher-centered PD!


Let’s Recap!


#1 — It’s important for you to GET Inspired in order to BE Inspiring.

#2 — It will make you a happy teacher and we all know Happy Teachers = Happy Kids!

#3 — It’s Flexible.  You will be filled with great ideas that you can then adapt and modify for your classroom.


Virtual Retreat logoVirtual Teacher Art Retreat = Teacher-Centered PD!

Join me at this year’s Virtual Teacher Art Retreat!  It will be filled with teacher-centered, hands-on, arts based workshops build to inspire YOU!







Register for some Teacher-Centered Professional Development!

Check out our Virtual Teacher Art Retreat and discover how amazing this type of PD can be – even online!

Here is the link to sign up for the Retreater Community for FREE!  — theinspiredclassroom.com/retreatforfree

Virtual Retreat logo


One of the best things you can do for yourself is surround yourself with other caring, creative educators!  That’s why I want you to join our amazing FB community: Inspiring Teachers!  Share ideas, ask questions and get support from colleagues around the globe who believe in the power of arts in education!


Say “Hi” on Social:

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