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The Importance of Hiring a Speaker for Staff Development

The Importance of Hiring a Speaker for Staff Development

Many administrators grapple with the issue of whether to have staff development conducted by a professional or by someone “in-house.”

In order to determine what’s best, consider the importance of the information you want to present or the objective of the staff development. If the purpose of the staff development is merely to convey information, then an “in-house person” may be able to do just fine.

However, if the purpose is to create some type of change, or motivate staff, or try something new, then it may be best to bring in a professional. You’ve heard the saying, “It is hard to be a prophet in your own land.” Well, that’s often the case! People seem to be more willing to try new or different ideas when someone from the outside presents them. 

Here are just a few reasons why you might consider hiring a professional speaker to increase the effectiveness of your staff’s development training!

Implement Changes for Future Generations of Children

Bringing in the right professional speaker can change the school for the better for years to come. Professional speakers help teachers grow. Many teachers actually use the information and materials for years. Many speakers have posters and one can see the posters still in use over a decade later.

Since many professionals have written books on their topics, teachers can refer to the book for additional information if problems develop years later. For these, and other reasons, a school can be changed for the better for years as a result of a professional speaker presenting to the staff.

Overcoming In-House Speaker Challenges with an Outside Perspective

Using “in-house” presenters can sometimes prevent teachers from growing. For some of your staff, using people on the staff to train them is a non-starter.

There can be personality conflicts. Some teachers won’t listen to another staff member simply because they don’t like them. They definitely won’t use their recommendations, no matter how sound the strategies. A school may have saved a few dollars, but at what cost? If the message wasn’t received and the objective wasn’t achieved, then what was the point? 

An exception to this is when a professional presents to the entire staff and then trains a leadership team that will then meet with the other teachers throughout the year to implement new ideas. This has worked well for schools I work with because I train the leadership team to effectively address issues when they crop up. I also provide them the support to interact effectively with their colleagues.

Build a Stronger Case for Change

Another consideration is that a good professional speaker brings additional data and research to build a stronger case for using the strategies presented.

“In-house” presenters can sometimes struggle when asked penetrating questions that go beneath surface-level information. Professional presenters are accustomed to this and professional speakers welcome the opportunity to showcase their knowledge. Answering questions from the audience also takes the discussion deeper and in the direction the audience wants it to go. 

Sometimes teaching staff needs an influx of new ideas. A professional presenter should bring proven new ideas from a myriad of sources. The presenter can also give another perspective on old issues. Sometimes issues grow stale. A fresh set of eyes, enthusiasm, and resources can jump-start things whereas “in-house” ideas may be seen as just more of the same!

Encourage Professionalism and Excellence in Your School

The final reason to use a professional speaker is the message it sends to the staff about professionalism and excellence. A good professional speaker models both.

A professional speaker exhibits the qualities that an administrator should look for in a classroom when conducting a classroom visit. Things like punctuality, organization, and knowledge should be on display from the beginning. Other attributes such as passion, excitement for the topic and ability to engage everyone in the room in the lesson are imperative for successful training and learning.

Administrators that arrange for a training should not have to hope that their “in-house” people will demonstrate these things. Professional speakers are your best chance to have excellence modeled and to ensure that your message is well received and your objective is achieved. 

Have you considered hiring a professional speaker to motivate and train your staff for the coming school year? Consider enlisting the skills and experience of a professional speaker for your staff development training!

About the Author

Larry Bell, a Citadel graduate, is a 30+ year veteran in education. Fifteen of those years were spent as a classroom teacher where he was nominated for the National Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award. As a teacher at Gar-field High School, a school with over 3,000 students speaking 36 different languages, Larry was recognized for his innovative classroom strategies that allowed his so called “Tough Kids” as well as his “Gifted and Talented” to excel!