Why Leaders Should Attend Teacher Trainings (Opinion)

We find time to engage in the things we want and we find excuses not to engage in the things we don’t want.

Have you ever participated in a district initiative, attended the training and wondered why the administrators weren’t there? As an admin, have you ever sat in a training and wished your teachers were there so you could have an authentic, real-time conversation about how to move forward?

Recently, I was leading a workshop in Idaho Falls with a group I’ve worked with before and respect a lot. We communicate via email, have sporadic phone calls to catch up, and going there feels like visiting friends, which makes the workshop experience and the dialogue that comes with it even more deeper.

When we come together for workshops and trainings, we must always want to go as far as possible. We need collaboration to achieve this.

Pedagogical coaches as well as leaders attended the training. Everyone, coaches and leaders in the same room. No, that doesn’t always happen when I give workshops. Sometimes it’s fair teachers…fair educational coaches or…fair principals, but we don’t share the same room very often.

This is where the first problem lies…

When schools implement curricula or frameworks (these are two different things), leaders and teachers often don’t share the same room, which means they don’t get the same message and don’t have the immediate opportunity to share their concerns or become a think tank to create innovative ideas to make the program or framework…to work.

This creates a situation where leaders or teachers have to be reactive rather than proactive, because depending on the situation, they have to go back to a faculty and follow the same steps. When questions arise, the facilitator is not there to help resolve them. It becomes a meal of peace.

For example, a district that goes through the instructional coaching process sends coaches to train without the leaders present in the room. Coaches-in-training need to go back to the leaders and explain what coaching is, rather than having the opportunity to go through the training with the leader in the room so they can form a partnership of understanding that will lead to results healthier and more positive. as they advance.

Obviously, we’re still making it work, but there’s an important piece of the puzzle missing, and that’s the administrative perspective.

Why are we segmented?
Why are we doing this? Why do we spend a lot of money on programs and frameworks and then approach trainings in a segmented way? Sometimes it’s because of the cover or the money. Other times it is due to the idea that districts have separate trainings, where teachers can interview other teachers and leaders can interview other leaders.

Isn’t this about collaboration?

This brings comfort, but it doesn’t always provide deep conversations and action steps to move forward, as separately trained teachers begin to think about how they should ask the leader (who is not present) permission to move forward, then they never get to a clear action step. They feel like they have to go back to the building to ask permission before they can take action, which the leader says could lead to more questions, lack of movement, or chaos.

The other problem with this type of training is that it contributes to the dysfunctional relationship between the two stakeholders. It’s no secret that in many districts there are teachers who don’t trust leaders, and in those districts leaders speak negatively about teachers. There are leaders who don’t commit to training because theyI do not have time.” We find time to engage in the things we want and we find excuses not to engage in the things we don’t want. If it’s an important initiative, shouldn’t everyone devote some time to it?

In order to get this thing right (keeping it clean here), we need to think differently about how we track workouts. We need to create trainings where leaders and teachers can work in partnership with each other; instead of training them separately where they have to be more responsive when they eventually come together…if they ever take the time to come together in the first place.

Collaboration, right?

Major programs and frameworks need to be planned. School districts shouldn’t jump into it so quickly. Before we grab the next brilliant thing that comes our way, we should have conversations with the consultant or workshop facilitator about why this program or setting is different? How can this help create better results than what we are already doing? If the consultant or facilitator can’t answer that question, then the district should think about what they’re doing…and maybe ditch that shiny new toy.

For everything to be implemented successfully, leaders and teachers must share the same room. Obviously, this will depend on the program or setting. For example, when it comes to instructional coaching, only coaches and leaders should be there. Not all teachers need to be in the room for instructional coaching training. The coach and leader can return to their own premises and work in partnership to explain what educational coaching is to staff.

If larger programs are implemented, districts can create equitable and authentically placed stakeholder groups that include leaders and teachers. A fair base and authentic placement means that various stakeholders are chosen and not just the obligatory teachers who are going to agree with the leader’s decision and encourage while they do so.

At the end
I was grateful to be in Idaho Falls because the people are awesome, they work really hard and have genuine conversations. They want to improve. They want student growth to increase. And the conversations that the coaches were able to have with the building officials who were there were very important. They clarified issues, asked good questions, discovered they didn’t need permission, and had genuine dialogue about how to move forward.

This type of synergy can occur when teachers and leaders are not trained together, but the results may not be the same because at some point they need to communicate, and what was once synergistic may get lost in translation. . The kind of synergy that creates a situation where everyone wants to get ahead requires having leaders and coaches in the same room at the same time to learn alongside each other.

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Joint photo courtesy of Kaboompics.