Professional Development

Parents are right to be interested in the professional development of the teachers in their children’s school. You want to know that we are not stale – that we are seeking improvement, aiming higher, researching and reading about best practices, and renewing the curriculum.

Teacher PD has received media attention over the past six months as the government has opted to increase the number of school days set aside for it. Whether their approach is wise or not, I don’t know. But I do believe in the value of what we do here at Immanuel.

Our teachers start their Professional Development at the end of June each year by identifying areas of research and study over the summer months. We work on units and lesson plans; we read books about education; we read novels to consider for literature study; and we take courses. In late August, we dedicate the week before Labour Day to collaborative work and classroom readiness.

In September, each teacher considers our “Teacher Professional Learning Tool,” which is a detailed document we developed to express our sense of the ideal teacher (this is available for you to read, if you are interested). We choose areas to work on and set actual goals that we intend to accomplish over the school year. I follow up with each teacher as the year progresses.

Two days in October are set aside for us to attend a convention in Moncton. Meeting with other Christian school teachers and learning from lectures and workshops is very valuable. Then, from January till May, we take three separate Fridays to convene here for team development and curriculum improvement. On the agenda in January and this Friday are the following:

  • Developing a graduate profile: How do we want our students to look/think/act when they leave us?
  • Planning for a high school
  • Considering classroom space and design factors
  • Teaching organization skills to our students
  • What gaps or inconsistencies are there in our program?
  • What are some good methods for personal organization as a teacher?
  • Preparing for a mutual observation (teachers in pairs take turns sitting in on one another’s class)
  • Unit planning
  • Practical business (e.g. scheduling matters)

There’s no shortage of things to work on, and we never quite get through everything!

Please pray for us as teachers, that we may learn better and better how to bless our students. (mm)