The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Should I be worrying about PRD?

Now that the panic and strain of moving from face to face teaching to online teaching has perhaps settled slightly, we find ourselves holding liminal space (the space in-between), as discussed by Sarah Philp in her blog. It’s a space that allows us to readjust and settle and refocus while waiting on future messages about the new normal, and what that will mean for each of us in our own contexts.

Rather than ignore this space and wait for the next reconfiguration to come our way, we can use this time and space to reflect on what we have learned: what we have learned about ourselves in times of change; what we have learned about how we cope in times of change; and what we still need to learn in times of change now and in the future.

This in-between space is so valuable because it has created time, something that we all usually crave. We have the ability to take stock of who we are as individuals, but also as professionals. It’s a chance to reflect on our teacher professionalism, on our professional values and professional standards, and our recent and future professional learning.

Although formal Professional Review and Development (PRD) meetings are not completed by all in the summer term, a significant number of schools and learning communities do use this time of year to complete these important professional learning discussions. So, should we still be worrying about PRD now? I think the question we should ask ourselves is: Is there a reason why I shouldn’t complete my PRD? The answer to that will be specific to your own circumstances, but on the whole, I would imagine that some of us are more likely to have the protected time to undertake these discussions, especially while holding liminal space. On the other hand, if the answer to that question is ‘no’, you might find our support materials on our health and wellbeing hub useful.

Covid-19 has forced our hand in using online platforms to teach, meet and share with others. Only this week I had my own PRD with my reviewer, and as expected, I was able to set my agenda, do all my self-evaluations (I drew a large coaching wheel on some wallpaper and sent a photograph over which included my scores, my reflections and my next steps!) and share my areas for future development. The beauty for me was that I focused on my most recent learning, and the impact it had on me. Yes, there were aspects of my professional learning I didn’t discuss, but for me the really important element in these times, is my future learning. What could I do to support me, and those with whom I work going forward? All of this beautifully facilitated by a coaching conversation.

Who knows what ‘going forward’ will look like, but I’m sure each and every one of us has our own interpretation? Ask yourself what you need to do to make a difference.

I will be blogging throughout our PRD Support Week, where we will be discussing the Revised PRD Guidelines, and how PRD might look, sound and feel different in these times. We will also discuss enquiry and collaborative learning, expectations of reviewers, and culture and climate going forward. There will be a webinar, where we will cover all the above and discuss GTC Scotland’s expectations with regards to PU sign off in these unusual times.

If you have any other suggestions or questions regarding PRD, please email me at sharon.smith@gtcs.org.uk or communications@gtcs.org.uk.

So, if you are holding liminal space just now, why not take an opportunity to explore our PRD guidelines and supporting resources and begin to consider where you are now, and what’s next for you in your learning. You can also find some answers to any PU questions you may have here in our PU FAQ.