Rate of Return

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by 401(K) 2013

If I bought a 600 dollar iPad and asked you to buy it from me a year later, how much would you pay?  400 dollars?  200 dollars?  Whatever the price, the minute that I opened that package, the investment started depreciating.

Now what if I took that same 600 dollars and put it into professional development for a teacher?  What if I asked that teacher to bring back whatever they learned and share it with others who now are not only learning, but recognizing this staff member’s leadership on staff and contributions?  What if this leads to more learning and engagement from students?  The way I see it, when we put money into our staff members, the rate of return goes up immediately. Yes it might not be in something tangible that you can see, but it will continue to grow and grow. The investment becomes immeasurable.

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that we should still be investing in “things” such as technology to put into the hands of our students as they can give us some transformational opportunities for learning, but our best investment, in any organization, is always people.  I have been hearing too many stories of people having to jump through so many hoops to go and learn on their own. As a professional we should also be able to invest in our own learning, but we have to see that people are doing this quite often and when they learn they bring value to the organization as well.

When people feel they are not valued, often times our actions say that their feelings are justified.

Our first investment in education should always be in people.  “Things” don’t build culture, people do.



4 thoughts on “Rate of Return

  1. Robert Schuetz

    Totally agree George. You have heard the adage that an iPad is nothing more than a shiny #2 pencil when it comes without training. It becomes much more when digital literacies are applied liberally. However, the necessary PD that accompanies new hardware just doubled the total cost of ownership. Invest in people and the structures that enable ubitquitous connection – that is money well spent.

  2. Pingback: Things don’t build culture, people do… | Lawrence Atkinson

  3. Shira Leibowitz

    I totally agree that our first and primary investment in education should always be in people. Yet, I wonder about the value of much professional development. What if instead of professional development, we instead spoke of professional learning? What if professional learning were job embedded, with options for faculty to set their own learning goals and choose their own methods, approaches, and supports to pursue those personalized goals? What if teachers learned with each other, rather than from “experts”? What if school cultures were shaped to support and celebrate professional learning in meaningful ways? Paradoxically, in more financially trying times with less money for conferences and consultants, we’ve found ways to learn more by relying on each other.

  4. Heaven Ball

    I never really thought about this that way. But you hit the nail on the head. Teachers do make a bigger impact on student achievement than an iPad. Technologies are amazing and can increase teacher effectiveness, but you are back to the point you were getting across. If teachers do not receive good professional development in the integration of technology, than they won’t use it effectively.

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