How a former educator used professional development support to guide her as a teacher (and learned not to eat the cafeteria lasagna).

March 24, 2014   |   By Jessica Tilles


Jessica Tilles is a BloomBoard account manager and former educator.

During my first few weeks of teaching, I felt like that ultra absorbent Scotch Brite sponge you have sitting on your kitchen counter. Eager to learn, take in, and try just about any down and dirty teaching strategy that came my way. I found myself listening in on the cafeteria conversations between my veteran colleagues, scouring education blogs for new and engaging ideas to incorporate in tomorrow’s lesson, and even calling my mom at 11 p.m. (a teacher with 25+ years of experience) for behavior management advice. While I learned so much from these conversations and my extremely stealthy eavesdropping skills, I found myself experiencing major information overload. Between learning how to take attendance, taking multiple trips to the Xerox machine to master the elusive art of double-sided copies, and coming up with a flawless “paper passing” classroom routine, I realized that I only had the bandwidth to tackle resources that brought me back to the basics. What I needed most was support with the fundamental skills that I knew would make a positive impact on my students. Why reinvent the wheel?

This is what Kappa Delta Pi’s (KDP) resources for professional development can do for educators, particularly newby teachers. KDP is just one of myriad providers who create excellent learning resources for educators. KDP’s articles and videos are not only clear and to the point (I only had about 10 minutes to spare during a typical prep period), but they hone in on the concepts and strategies that serve as the building blocks of great teaching. The guidelines described in KDP’s article, A Key to First Year Success: Building Your Own Professional Learning Community, for example, walked me through how to establish the most valuable support network I had during my years in the classroom --my Algebra I PLC.

What is more, KDP has a pulse on what is most imperative to teachers in the here and now. As an International Honor Society in the education field with over 600 chapters on colleges campuses, KDP undoubtedly has its ear to the ground. As such, this organization is able to use teacher feedback and data to produce a dynamic library of resources that evolves and changes along with the needs of today’s educators. Presently, teachers have expressed a need for support in areas such as common core instruction, differentiation, bullying, and effective classroom management…and KDP delivers. 

Looking for a resource to refocus your teaching on research-based strategies and skills? KDP’s articles and videos allow you to examine and implement the basic components of teaching that should be found in every classroom, and leave you with invaluable spare time to make these strategies your own. If only my first-year teacher self knew what I know now:

#1: Don’t eat the cafeteria lasagna.
#2: Stick to teaching fundamentals (at least until you’ve got the bell schedule memorized) 
#3: Check out KDP’s articles and videos. These strategies will help get you where you need to be -- confident and ready to educate your amazing kids.

Know of other amazing professional development resources that teachers can benefit from? We’re always looking to feature new resources to share with the educator community. Contact me at:

Topics: Stories


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