When it comes to professional development (PD) for teachers, it’s time to change the status quo. That’s where Rich Czyz comes in!
In this episode, Rogue Leader (Episode 78), we linked up with Czyz as he discusses the ways in which professional development can be revolutionized to stay relevant and useful to teaching staff. Good professional development of staff also lends itself to great leadership, which Czyz covers in his book Rogue Leader.
Here are the key ideas we took away from this episode:
- Professional development isn’t necessarily something that teachers look forward to. They are often obligated to undertake PD that isn't relevant to their curriculum or role which leads to cognitive overload and an inefficient use of their time.
- Czyz wants to change that! He believes that PD should be engaging, authentic, and meet the needs of the individual. He proposes that institutions use the Readi Method which would allow groups such as guidance counselors or music teachers in a district the opportunity to come together to create PD that’s meaningful for their particular roles. Czyz asserts that the kind of learning that takes place in the classroom, like project based learning, needs to be reflected in PD as well.
- Czyz discusses ways to share general PD that’s relevant to all roles, such as instructional ideas or tech tips anyone could use. Sneaky PD refers to finding ways to deliver PD in easily digestible and efficient ways. For example, in “copier PD,” information can be posted on the copy machine which allows teachers to engage in PD while using the machine. Copier PD could consist of a list of ideas or could be taken a step further by directing a learner to information accessible via a QR code.
- Czyz wants teachers to be leaders. He believes they should “make the rules, inspire others, and take control of [their] own PD destiny.” Czyz feels that if teachers become life-long learners and are seen to seek out knowledge for themselves, they’ll set a good example for kids to follow in their own educational journeys.
In Rogue Leader, Czyz mentions that “anyone can be a leader from the seat that they’re sitting in.” His concept of leadership involves leaders at all levels of a school or institution. This form of leadership was essential during the COVID-19 pandemic when teachers had to have more autonomy, but it remains relevant to this day. Although higher-ups haven’t quite caught on yet, Czyz models what PD can look like and is excited for the positive changes it will bring to school districts.