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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Cost of Professional Learning and Teaching

To attend professional learning events costs money and time. Many educators freely give of their time and money to support their professional learning and other efforts.

Some who stand up and speak out for new schools, forget that most educators are doing the best they can to do the job well often with little support. Few to no educators have administrative assistants to help out with the phone calls, collection of receipts, and ordering. Also it's rare for educators to have any say or voice over how money is spent or with regard to obtaining needed supplies.

In so many ways educators' hands are tied when it comes to doing the good work possible, but most don't give up and find other ways--they use their own money to buy supplies and attend events, they barter their services in exchange for attendance at a conference, and they work endless hours after school and during vacations to gain skill and knowledge.

Educators' families pay a price too. They support the after hours work, personal money spent on school supplies, and the time and money for professional learning events. At times school systems might or might not support needed or desired supplies, time during work for necessary professional efforts, and the money for professional learning--this differs substantially year to year, person to person, and system to system.

I believe that America should support fair wages, reasonable job descriptions, professional learning support, and sufficient staffing in every school. I think that some of the problems we're facing today in our country are because we haven't thought long and hard enough about what our children in this country need and how we can support children more. Helping children helps our country today and in the future.

Educators like professionals in all areas will give some of their own time, money, and effort to boost what they can do for children. But as with any professional, they won't be able to give beyond their means and the money they need to support their own families and livelihood.

It's important that school systems think deeply and fairly about the professional learning they support and the supplies they fund. It's important that the support they give is equitable and inclusive serving and supporting the best possible teaching and learning.

How do you balance your professional and personal investment in the work you do, supplies you buy, and professional learning events you attend? What is a good balance? How are system dollars spent to support needed materials, time, and learning in your system? Is there an equitable distribution with adequate lead time, transparency, and support? Who leads with regard to needed information, communication, guidance ,and support in this area?

There's much to know about the way schools run and the expectations for educators. It's important for policy makers and education evangelists to understand this well as they share their message and advocate for optimal support. This is an area of school life that impacts what we can do with strength so good decision making and support is imperative in this regard.