The Gregory School has a late start Monday every three weeks, and teachers use this time for professional development meetings. Students must arrive at 11 AM, but teachers get here at 8 AM for special meetings.
During these meetings, teachers from both the middle school and upper school meet and discuss what works in the classroom. Teachers also do exercises to learn different methods of teaching and they bring up new ideas about how to teach.
Teachers unite to talk about different strategies they have for teaching, along with their philosophies about teaching. Faculty talk about the relationship between teaching and learning in the classroom to try and figure out better ways of communicating.
The meetings are led by Dr. Michelle Berry, an upper school history teacher. Meetings occur monthly during late start for three hours, which the teachers say isn’t enough time. Berry said, “In my opinion, I would want at least twice a month.”
Teachers like to come together to talk about teaching. Ms. Langan-Peck, an Upper School English teacher, said, “I like the opportunity to sit down with my colleagues; ones that I work really closely with like my English colleagues. Also, people who I hardly ever get to spend time with or talk to.”
Professional development has learning activities for teachers where they get to bond with each other. One of these activities included the English Department doing a presentation on what critical thinking looks like in a classroom.
Teachers get a sense of unity in the school, because most of their jobs are very isolating when they spend most of their days in a classroom.
When biology teacher Mr. Rolle was asked if professional development is important to TGS, he said, “Absolutely. The faculty should be just as dedicated to be lifelong learners as we are hoping students will become.”
Professional development helps the teachers learn how to teach more effectively. Berry said, “We have faculty that have what is called a growth mindset, meaning we all are very interested in becoming better at what we do. So, when we are given an opportunity to develop professionally, most of us are very excited to do that.”
Teachers also meet in smaller groups based on their subject matter. In these groups, they discuss what is going well in their classroom and where they can improve their teaching.
Additionally, teachers like to share what they are doing and ask for advice. Langan-Peck said, “I think the best professional development is when things are not repetitive, and when we as a collective school community can share with one another what we actually do in our classrooms. For me, that’s the most inspiring professional development.”
Professional development at The Gregory School benefits both teachers and students in a vast number of ways. Teachers learn different methods of teaching, which is beneficial to students who might learn more effectively in different ways.
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