Teacher or Student?

Teacher as student

I have just commented on Derek Wenmoth’s blog regarding what makes effective teacher PLD.  For those who are not in education that means Professional Learning and Development.

As an EdD student, I am also a teacher in her 42nd year of teaching.  I do feel odd in my dual role from time to time.  It feels most odd when I am treated as an inexperienced student by university teachers.  Good for the humility, for sure.

Back to Derek Wenmoth’s blog again… You would think I might know a thing or two about teacher PLD, having experienced all sorts over the past four decades.  I know what works, in other words, what helps me teach most effectively and what helps me raise achievement levels for my own students in my own school.

As I suggested to Derek, confirming his post about the recent publication, Teachers Know Best, that “in order to be effective, teacher PLD needs to be teacher-initiated.

I love the phrase that I think comes from Dr Lorraine Munroe, that secondary schools have “over-permeable boundaries.”  We are pushed and pulled from all directions – students, parents, school leadership, community, subject associations and advisors, national curriculum and assessment requirements, and more often than not their demands are contradictory.

Teachers are professionals who have spent many years training in the university and many more years training in the classroom, and who actually know a thing or two about their field of expertise, including, what will aid the teaching and learning that occurs in their own classrooms.

Effective PLD has to be teacher-initiated or else it becomes an exercise in compliance and box ticking.”

The best PLD for me and my students is my being an EdD student and researching matters that are relevant in my classroom amd therefore possibly but not necessarily in the classrooms of my colleagues.



  1. Hi, and welcome to the 23 Things PD event. Glad that you have joined us and its great to see that you’ve got stuck right in and started with some quality blogs.

    I’ve heard the same comment from other teachers-come-students about condescending comments. Not sure how I would handle that given the power differential that exists within a classroom and the student-teacher relationship.

    As for possible opportunities to thank your fantastic work colleagues (previous blog), if you are enjoying 23 Things for Research so far you might like to point them at our other professional development programme that starts next week – 23 Things for Teaching (http://23teaching.com). It is public, free and self-paced. While it is oriented towards our teacher education students, anyone can take part. Your colleagues might be interested and we would be very happy for any feedback on the programme from current teachers.

    Nga mihi,



  2. Hi Steve,

    I’ll let my colleagues know about the 23 Things for Teaching PD event.

    The most precious element in teaching is time. So something that allows the teacher to participate at a convenient time just might be of interest.

    I suspect my participant teachers agreed to help me because I was saving them time by marking some of their NCEA assessments.

    If only the Government realised that all we want is time to do our job properly. Instead, they take away our time by giving us more time-consuming accountabilities. That includes professional development requirements, however, these tend to be school-specifc and not option because they end up counting for appraisal and also registration renewal.

    I would be interested to know if any of them join the event.



    Liked by 1 person

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