Professional Development in an Advancing World
I remember as a young person thinking how I couldn’t wait to get my degree and start my career. While I loved school, I was excited and ready to begin to apply what I had learned to real-world situations.
I completed my formal education in the '90s, but was perhaps naive at that time about the critical need for ongoing training and education to stay on top of my game to continue to add value to the organization I worked for. Over the past thirty years, the need for ongoing training has only accelerated. Individuals who don’t commit to continued development will be left behind in a world that is only becoming more complex and influenced by global events and exponential technology. This is as true for individuals in the education field as it is for any field. We are preparing the next generation of leaders and innovators. In order to inspire each student to achieve their potential, the individuals who are responsible for ensuring their preparation must commit themselves to ongoing professional development.
What is great about people in the teaching profession is that they love to learn. I suspect many of them remain in education because they loved being a student so much. That is great for our students, yet providing teachers and administrators with the time and support they need to stay at the top of their game can be challenging as our days tend to be full to overflowing with activity to support the students in our care. We carve out time each Thursday afternoon for faculty meetings that typically include some professional development. We have a couple of days during the school year, such as next Tuesday’s professional day, to engage in professional development. We also have some time at the beginning and end of each school year that includes professional development. While these are great opportunities to advance our work, we could double the number of days we devote to professional development and still need more.
Our leadership team will be exploring creative ways to ensure that our teams have the time and resources for their continued growth. A commitment to investing in the ongoing education of our people is more important than ever. The field of education is in a state of transformation. Evolving exponential technology such as ChatGPT that I wrote about last week, a national teacher shortage in a competitive labor market, shifting college admissions practices, recovery from a pandemic and other factors present a very different landscape for K-12 education than it did just a few years ago.
Moravian Academy launched its strategic planning effort last week. The executive committee will be working together through the end of this school year to assess the current landscape we find ourselves in, look ahead to trends that will impact us in the future, gather data from our community, and collaborate with the community to set a course for our future. That course will most certainly need to include enhancing investment in our people. We are also fortunate to have incredible resources around us to partner with. The Lehigh Valley has a wealth of colleges and universities populated with smart, talented individuals who want to work with us. We are home to innovative corporations in the medical field, industrial gasses, transportation, electronics, and other industries. If you have connections, resources, or ideas about how we could leverage the opportunities right here in the Lehigh Valley to support teacher professional development or enhance the student experience, I encourage you to reach out. Moravian Academy aspires to provide not only the best PS-12 education in the Lehigh Valley, but to be an admired leader in our field nationwide. Together, we can achieve that ideal.
In partnership for the education of your children,
Adrianne Finley Odell
Head of School