Here's a couple data points for you to consider:
- How many times this year has your principal been in your room to observe a lesson, other than formal district-mandated observations?
- How many times this year has your technology coordinator observed your lessons? Or curriculum director? Or department head?
- How many times have you observed another teacher teach this year?
- How many other educators in your district know what you are currently looking at in your curriculum? And, how many of those only know because they have children who are your students?
- How many times this year have you had a discussion with another educator about student data, not including the ITBS/ITEDs? How many of those led to you altering your teaching?
- How many articles, books, or blog posts have you read this year that have transformed your teaching? How many of those did you share with your colleagues?
With the exception of a few schools who truly value collaboration, we live more isolated than any other profession. Professional development does not work in isolation.
Tony Wagner, in his visit to Iowa, used the analogy of the tennis player who was trying to improve her game by only email interaction with a coach. The coach was not allowed to see her practice or play, but could only offer vague advice on the fundamentals of the game. The player was also not allowed to see herself via videotape or to watch other players for comparison. And she wasn't allowed to discuss the score of any match to measure the effects of any efforts she made.
How well would the tennis player improve in that isolated of a situation? How well do you?