Eric Hirsch-Director of Special Projects at the New Teacher Center

June 16, 2008

Arizona Teacher Working Conditions:  Take the Individual Professional Development Plans and use the survey and here are the goals:

Develop and implement IPDPs based on state, district and school goals and teacher and student needs.

Use data to change how educators design, provide, and participate in professional learning experiences

Promote reflective thinking and collegial conversations around the direct link between individual professional development planning and student learning

Develop and support leadership at the site level to promote the design and delivery of effective professional development tied to individual teacher needs and student achievement.

What conditions in a school must be in place to reach these goals?

  • Trust
  • Perserverance
  • Open communication
  • Time & space–dedicated collaborative time

Looking at the Arizona Teacher Working conditions Initiative Survey there is a gap in perception between teachers and principal’s view of working conditions. 

Principals seem to think all is going great.  Compared to the teachers views, the principals there is such a disparity between what both groups think. 

PD questions: The teachers and principals are completely divided by their answers.  

So these statistics are really showing that there are gaps in the attitudes and perceptions between teachers and principals, as well as between the elementary, middle and highschool teachers.


Here is the point:  Here is where we are in AZ in PD:

Time:  Teachers feel that they are not getting enough time

Decision making:  Teachers feel they are not engaged in decisions about professional development opportunities

Insufficient funding:  Teachers feel not enough funding available.

You need to empower teachers:  New teachers assigned a mentor are more likely to stay….

Quality Mentors are critical to teacher empowerment and teachers — As long as they work directly with their mentees.  

This was an eyeopening session for me.  Especially the parts about the teacher and principal disconnect.  But I can equate it simply to my role at the district level.  I can definately see that same disconnect between the “district” and the principals.  We think we’ve communicated one thing, and the principals see it another way.  Also, at times the principals think they communicate one thing and we at the district see it another.  To me it just proves that we need to have absolute spot on open communication and ongoing communication to keep the dialog going.  

If all parties know and understand that everyone comes to the table with good intentions, then we can definitely get more done as well.  Some people may think this is Pollyanna thinking.  I totally disagree.  I think half of the problem with trust and disillusionment is that people are not coming to the table open to consensus-building and to problem-solving.  I do understand that trust must be built, but to some degree, we all need to realize that we are all on the same side.








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