Last week I was having a conversation with my administrator about how to personalize professional development for the teachers in my building. My school is very small so providing personalized learning opportunities for each staff member is reasonable. I asked how we make sure each teacher receives the kind of training they need in order to continue growing. I remarked that most of my learning takes place on my own time through my personal learning network. His response was that he does not want one teacher to be way out front while the rest are way behind. It isn't fair to the students that some of them get to do things in your class that they cannot do in their other classes."
Really? What does that even mean? I interpreted to mean that I need to apply the brakes and put my brain on ice until the other teachers catch up and that isn't likely to happen anytime soon. Why? Because I spend hours of my own time learning and growing. It is how I choose to invest a great deal of my free time. The other teachers, while not opposed to learning new things, are not passionate about it. For the most part their day begins at 7:30 and ends when they walk out the door. With the limited opportunities provided during the school year there is no way the others can catch up unless they decide to invest their own time. While they are experts in their subject matter their understanding of how to integrate technology into their classrooms is very limited. This happens to be my greatest strength.
I am left wondering what I am supposed to do. Am I supposed to not utilize my skills because my coworkers don't know how to do the same things I do? Am I expected to stagnate while I wait for them to catch up? I have offered to teach them, but there is never enough time. (This year has been crazy at my school and there really hasn't been time.)
How can a district claim to be progressive when they are asking those at the forefront to stop blazing trails? What kind of administrator tries to stand in the way of a passionate teacher who is committed to being a life-long learner? What message are we sending to both students and teachers when we basically tell people to stop learning?
Who else has experienced something similar to this? I am anxious to hear how you handle being asked to stop growing.