Teachers Pursue Professional Development For Their Reasons, Not Yours

As a parent, I’ve noticed how my children sometimes resist doing what I want them to do. No matter how good my reasons are or how compelling the evidence I present, they won’t budge. Sometimes, the more I insist on them taking action the more they will dig in their heels and push back. Perhaps you’ve experienced this as well?

People grow for their own reasons, not yours.

This isn’t just a parenting issue, this is a human issue. We’ve all had administrators or a manager tell us we MUST do something. Without considering our unique situation or soliciting our input, they provide yet another mandate that we must follow. In the workplace, we often comply because our paychecks and performance evaluations are tied to our action. However, even at work, we may take the action requested of us, but our heart isn’t in it. Parents, administrators, and managers often forget one simple truth: people grow for their own reasons, not yours.

As a parent, I’m most successful when I take the time to understand my children’s perspective and get buy-in before just telling them what I want them to do (this is especially true as your children get older.) Managers and administrators that are loved by their people are the ones that solicit input from those they lead, provide options, and ultimately let them take ownership for the  direction to pursue.

At iAspire, we design all of our professional development and coaching experiences around this fundamental principle: teachers will grow for their own reasons, not yours (and not ours!) Here are four reasons this is true:

  • EACH TEACHER IS UNIQUE - while there is a time and place for school wide initiatives, the majority of your development should be tailored to each teacher’s unique strengths and situation.

  • TEACHERS WANT TO BE LISTENED TO - making the effort to learn each teacher’s reasons for growing makes them feel valued. There is a lot of talk in education about Student Voice and Choice (we actually have Coaching on how to implement this in the classroom) but not about Teacher Voice and Choice. Why is that? If students desire to have their voice heard in education, then teachers deserve the same thing!

  • EACH TEACHER HAS DIFFERENT GOALS - some of your teachers desire to be a future administrator, some are just starting off their teaching career, and others are passionate about pursuing new instructional techniques. If you don’t acknowledge and respond to your teacher’s individual goals, eventually they will leave.

  • CURRENT APPROACHES AREN’T WORKING - Let’s be honest, the current approach to developing our teachers just isn’t working. Over 150,000 teachers in the US alone leave the profession each year. While many factors contribute to this, a lack of meaningful growth opportunities is often at the top of the list. In-service days, workshops, district wide conferences, and traditional teacher evaluations just aren’t providing the right development and growth opportunities.

If students desire to have their voice heard in education, then teachers deserve the same thing!

There has to be a better way.

iAspire created an Intelligent Assistant to not only manage your observation process throughout the school year, but to help you understand each teacher’s goals through individualized growth plans (which the Assistant helps them create, so no extra work for you!)

The iAspire Assistant will offer individualized Coaching based on the teacher’s growth plan and observation feedback. Teachers then choose the coaching THEY want to pursue. All of this happens automatically throughout the year.

The result: you end up with teachers that feel valued and are continuously growing in their profession.

Scott Himes