By Angela Brown
In our consumer-driven society, we are often intrigued by the perks a certain decision or purchase offers. “Buy ten coffees, get your eleventh free.” “Sign up now, and we’ll waive the maintenance fee.” Admit it: we’ve come to expect benefits or perks with almost every decision we make, especially when it comes to employment.
If you don’t happen to work in schools, you likely assume that the biggest perk school employment offers is vacation time. While extended time to travel or connect with family and friends is indeed a great benefit of working at Pike, the best perk of all isn’t vacation: it’s professional development.
Surprisingly, not all schools encourage educators to stretch themselves to learn new skills each year. And, unfortunately, many that do are unable to provide the time and financial resources necessary to make their professional development goals a reality. At Pike, every teacher, administrator, and staff member may participate in a professional development opportunity each school year to enhance his or her knowledge and skills. When you consider that there are over a hundred faculty and staff, it becomes clear just how major an investment professional development is at Pike. From graduate classes to seminars to trainings, Pike encourages its employees to develop new skills, challenge their thinking, and find new passions every year.
In addition to learning more, at Pike, we’re also encouraged to serve as resources by sharing what we know with other educators across the country, either by presenting at conferences or hosting visitors on campus. This is not simply limited to classroom teachers who share innovative teaching practices, but also administrators and staff members who share their creative strategies and leadership methods. Just this school year, I have had the pleasure of leading three different workshops at national conferences with Pike colleagues, Kwame Cobblah, Michael Eatman, Jenn Elkin, and Kate Moran. Designing and presenting a workshop provides several benefits: 1) Teamwork, research, and time management skills are further developed; 2) The innovative work we do at Pike is shared with a national audience; and 3) Relationships deepen between colleagues as we travel and explore a new city together.
Why would Pike make such a commitment every year to every employee? Simply put: educators who are not challenged and inspired cannot challenge and inspire their students. That’s why professional development is the gift that keeps on giving. Our students are the true beneficiaries of Pike’s commitment to professional development. Everything Pike educators gain directly impacts and improves our students’ experiences both in and out of the classroom.
Those of us who work at Pike know that learning does not end with a certificate or Master’s degree. That’s why the perks we desire most are not actually “freebies” where we do less and get more, but rather opportunities where we do more in order to give more. At Pike, those opportunities abound!
The Pike School is an independent, coed, day school for Pre-K through ninth grade in Andover, Massachusetts. Visit pikeschool.org to learn more about Pike – and visit our blog for more thought leadership.