The Transylvania Times -

Everyday Education: Good Teachers, Staff Never Stop Learning


November 12, 2018

Just as our students never stop learning, neither do our teachers and other staff members. We often hear about what is expected of students and how educational requirements change for them, but little focus is placed on all the “behind the scenes” work teachers do to stay abreast of current research, to meet state re-certification requirements, to pursue higher degrees and to simply learn more about educational areas of interest in order to meet the educational needs of our students.

Teachers must become re-certified in their licensure area every five years in North Carolina in order to remain eligible to teach in our state. Teachers earn units called CEUs (Continuing Education Units) in order to achieve this re-certification. Each CEU requires 10 hours of face-to-face instruction. CEU requirements have changed several times over the last few years with our latest change taking place for this school year. Currently, teachers must earn three CEU’s in the area of literacy, three in the teacher’s content area, and two digital learning competency credits. The digital learning competency requirement is new and provides a framework for schools of education, school administrators and classroom teachers on the needed skills to provide high-quality, integrated digital teaching and learning.

Teachers and other educators require a wide variety of professional development. For example, an English teacher might need to attend classes to learn more about the content being taught in that particular subject area. In addition, the same teacher might need other types of staff development to learn better ways or alternative methods for teaching that new material. There might, also, be a need to learn more about classroom management techniques, how to incorporate technology into current instruction, and how to better address the needs of language minority students or exceptional learners in the classroom.

Many courses are taken locally and led by teacher experts currently in our school system, by our county’s instructional coaches, or specialists brought into our system for specific training needs. WRESA (Western Region Education Service Alliance), located in Asheville, is another source for high quality professional development with courses focusing on topics such as student-led conferences or mathematical frameworks addressing needs at various grade levels as well as various content areas. Other needs are met by such activities as teachers attending conferences specializing in a certain subject or topic (example: a math conference or a conference focusing on differentiation or school climate) or enrolling in courses offered through an accredited university.

Some of these courses and professional develop-ment opportunities are paid for by the school system while others are paid for by the individual teacher. Transylvania County Schools cooperates with staff by giving time to attend meetings and by providing substitute teachers when needed.

PLC’s (Professional Learning Communities) are a very important part of today’s continuing education for teachers. Using a common book for ongoing professional studies with others interested in the same topic is often completed as is the incorporation of new ideas and approaches and frequent monitoring of how those ideas change the learning of students. Collaboration among staff members within a school or across schools has become more important than ever.

Most teachers do not stop at the minimum requirements but instead go beyond trying to improve their teaching for the benefit of our county’s students. With new standards in both mathematics and language arts this year and this ever-changing world, our teachers realize their need to never stop learning.

(Whitman is the instructional coach at Rosman Elementary School.)


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