Let teachers train teachers

Districts hire outside consultants to train teachers, even when teachers already working in the district have been using the “new” techniques successfully, complains Anthony Cody, an Oakland (CA) teacher turned professional development coach. If there are local teachers with expertise, why not make them the trainers?

About Joanne


  1. This is a very good point. Our school is very technology-oriented and most of the people training us on the technology we’re implementing are from education consulting firms. While some of the consultants have a lot of experience working with technology, very few have experience working with the population. It would be far better to use as trainers the people in our school who already know how to use the technology. That way they know what to expect from the students as well.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. One training I sat through was conducted by a lady who had been a high school principal (we were all elementary teachers), who showed up late AND dressed like she was going clubbing as soon as she finished.

    Meanwhile, the district’s elementary teacher of the year was there AND was certified trainer for the material.

  3. It speaks to the disrespect that districts have for teachers, that they would rather spend scarce money to bring in the outside experts, than empower teachers to handle their own professional development. I had that situation last year – even after we informed the principal that we had been trained on PLCs, we were forced to sit in the workshop. What a waste of time, and, boy, were we resentful of it.

    I have to be honest, one of the advantages of less money for school districts is that they can’t waste it on this kind of nonsense.

  4. Our PD sessions are almost always run by staff. I generally teach a session 3 or 4 times a year.

  5. tim-10-ber says:

    Lightly Seasoned — that is great news.

    In our district there are so many consultants brought it.

    I have a question — why do we not hear much about the sharing of best practices within public education? I don’t believe I have ever heard it mentioned in any meeting I attended in our district. I am not an educator. I could have missed it but I doubt it…

  6. Because we don’t do it very often. When would we?

  7. If we stopped hiring outside consultants what would all the administrators do after they retired?

    My district’s previous 3 superintendants and at least a half dozen former administrators that I know of have either started or joined consulting firms.

  8. Dang. When I read the title to the post I thought a district might be doing teacher training resulting in a teaching certificate.

    Sadly I see that this is an article that questions the wisdom of squandering public education funds. “Sadly” because if talking about the squandering were worthwhile the squandering would have stopped some decades ago.