Much teacher leadership is born out of a need to solve problems. Mine focused on two issues.
In 2012, the state Common Core training was focused exclusively on math and ELA, professional development was directed only to teachers of those subjects. Since one of the purposes of the Common Core is to promote interdisciplinary learning opportunities, that struck me as a problem. How could art, music, library, and PE be part of the learning opportunities if the teachers of these subjects didn’t receive professional development in the Common Core?
A second issue was that schools are spending a good deal of professional development money on outside consultants in their efforts to provide CCSS training. This seemed like a waste of resources because many of our teachers have the capacity to work with each other, if they had the opportunity. I was interested in developing a training of trainers model to better use resources by creating teacher leaders in professional development within their schools. Working with my state association, I wrote a small grant from the NEA and coordinated the delivery of two workshops called “Common Core Across the Curriculum” that could be presented to teachers who teach outside the traditional Common Core subjects- math and ELA. The grant specifically identified National Board Certified Teachers as the target audience for the training of trainers; these teachers would then go back to their respective schools to deliver the workshops.
The purpose of the training of trainers was two-fold: to provide high-quality professional development for delivery of Common Core instruction across the curriculum and to demonstrate the power of teacher leadership in the realm of professional development. The trainers were not only available at their schools for the initial training, but unlike consultants, they were available afterwards as their colleagues began to implement their learning from the workshop. The training of trainers took place with more than ten NBCTs in attendance. These teachers delivered the workshops to their schools/districts. Additionally, the state association had requests for the workshops from districts that had not participated and I delivered the workshops there. In those districts, I was able to talk to administrators about the advantages of training in-house to deliver this type of professional development.