Why cheap teacher PD costs you more money in the long run

There’s a lesson about return on investment hidden in the humble classroom pencil. That’s right–the pencil.

Ask any teacher and they’ll tell you definitively that all pencils are not created equal.

There are cheap pencils with soft lead that breaks too easily and erasers that smudge writing instead of removing it.

Then there are name-brand pencils that feature strong graphite that breaks less often and top-quality erasers for clean corrections.

Yes, those name-brand pencils might cost a bit more money up front, but everyone will tell you they are better at achieving their intended purpose with less waste. They are cost-effective because they help teachers (and students) achieve the goal with less total cost. Those pencils provide a better return on investment.

This same analysis can be made for just about any type of investment school or district leaders need to make, including investments in professional learning to support educator growth.

This is even truer when technology is involved, as there are many teacher PD options that advertise they’re cheap, but may not deliver much to any return on investment if teachers don’t find the tools helpful and personalized to their needs. Cheap PD does not equate to cost-effective PD, as district leaders may ultimately need to spend more in the long-run to help teachers progress in their professional learning.

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