Anticipating Teacher Pushback in Professional Development Sessions

Anticipating Teacher Pushback in Professional Development Sessions

Anticipating Teacher Pushback in Professional Development Sessions

This post is adapted from a conversation with Professional Development specialist Joseph Maiello. Over the past eight years, CITE consultants have provided professional development in over 750 city schools, both in-school workshops and parent workshops, logging thousands of hours. Our team of professionals are well-versed in all aspects of professional development, and our workshops are CTLE approved.

What’s our method for working with schools, while anticipating teacher pushback? 

We have to work on structure for the workshops, to achieve the greatest success. The principal is in charge; we work with the principal to structure these workshops in a way that anticipates teacher pushback — for instance, a fifth grade teacher in a workshop for grades 1-3 will say it doesn’t apply to them. That’s where structure comes in: how are you grouping teachers so that they’re dealing with something relevant, so that they’re grouped with people in their subject and level, so they know what people are doing? In this way, as we plan, we structure the workshops so that the teachers are doing something relevant and meaningful, which takes care of a lot of the pushback.

We always reassess as we go; nothing it etched in stone. The important thing is that this is not a cookie cutter type of thing. Is there a particular objection from a teacher? Can we be more practical about what we’re working on? We take the Principal’s vision, and the school’s needs, and we build something together that will achieve their goals. It’s not only about depth of knowledge, it’s about how you apply that to your level, the school and teacher situation. We always structure it in a way that anticipates objections so that we can make it relevant and meaningful.

We always ask: what are the strategies that make you successful? We have a lot of experience making professional development accessible and relevant. 

One thing we’ve been working on is how to best use the para in the classroom. That’s been a popular Professional Development topic: what’s their role? Do your teachers know? Did anyone ever tell them? So we structure a workshop around that. 

For more popular topics in professional development for teachers and parents, click here.

Depth of Knowledge and Applied Technique

Sometimes we hit on a topic that a principal has been thinking about but is not totally sure about how to address. Then we bring something tangible. We design a workshop around it, anticipating the point of view of the classroom teacher and all involved. Not everyone has the same depth of knowledge. So, what can we do to bring everyone onto the same page? What exactly should be happening?

We see this over and over, in school after school — I need some ELL stuff: can you meet with our team? Yes. Even when the team is a team of experts in ELL, we demonstrate application of the knowledge, across the whole team — it’s stepping up, building a comfort level, so that the whole team now has a common language for applying it. We’re not ever talking down to a group, we’re working to build them up. That’s been the key to making our workshops so successful.

Translating the New Buzzwords

There is so much coming at a principal; we can take some of it off their desk. The DOE may say, you need to spiral. What’s spiraling? Aren’t we already doing that? Who isn’t doing it? It’s breaking down the new buzz words into actions. We’re an ally, a confidante, a support. We want you to tap into this knowledge. How that occurs is up to what you need. This is the principal’s footprint, not ours. If we can translate what the city is saying into a meaningful set of techniques for the classroom teacher, that’s a success.

And, all of our workshops are CTLE-approved. We do the workshop then the principal and staff get the credits for CTLE.

How to Contact our Team

The Center for Integrated Training and Education is proud to offer CTLE-approved professional development for schools as well as parent workshops designed to address various educational issues. We can also create specific workshops to meet the needs of your particular school. Our goal is to serve as an extension of the Principal’s vision. So, we are not coming in with a pre-packaged list of workshops. We tailor everything we do to fit your vision and needs. Last year alone, CITE led professional development for schools at over 250 sites. 

Our talented and knowledgable coordinators can help design a Professional Development Program that meets your needs. For more on how we work, click here

Carl Sanfilippo: 516-817-8435 • 
Joe Maiello: 917-843-9221•
Matt Zagami: 516-426-2786 • 


CITE is the Center for Integrated Training and Education. For over 25 years, CITE has and continues to train TEACHERS (Early ChildhoodProfessional CertificationSpecial Ed,Grad CoursesBilingual coursesDASA); COUNSELORS (SchoolMental Health MastersAdvanced Certificate); and ADMINISTRATORS (SBLSDLPublic AdminDoctorate) in all five boroughs of NYC, Yonkers, Westchester, and Long Island.

CITE PD offers CTLE-approved in-school professional development tailored to your school’s needs and your vision. Info:

We now also offer an undergraduate degree completion program in psychology.