Note: This post is for teachers.
PLC stands for Professional Learning Community, and many schools have some form of them already established. They are usually department-based (like a science teacher PLC in a middle school or a U.S. history PLC in a high school), but the people required to participate can be based on anything, really. There are even district-wide and state-wide PLCs. Basically, any time a group of teachers gets together to work on something, it usually becomes a PLC.
At their core, PLCs are groupings of teachers and administrators who meet regularly to solve problems, plan together, share ideas, analyze data, and/or create resources. The expectations of a PLC range from minimal (i.e. attend periodic meetings) to high (i.e. create tests together that you will all administer on the same day and then compare the data).
Most PLCs do a mix of sharing and creating resources such as:
- lesson plans
- classroom activities
- teaching strategies
- assessments (i.e. quizzes and tests)
Ideally PLCs serve to support you as a teacher by providing resources and mentoring. If your school doesn’t have PLCs, or your PLCs are just an excuse to sit in someone’s room and chat about your weekend, try and organize some sharing of resources on your own. You can always share first to get things started!
On the other hand, if you are being smothered by an over controlling PLC that demands you do everything just like the other teachers, try to find a way to respectfully fight for your independence. Telling the other members that you want to differentiate your instruction is a great way to try and break free.
Often members of a PLC bring student data (i.e. test scores) to analyze together. This can be intimidating, especially if you are a new teacher. Hopefully (and usually) no one is “out to get you” or anything like that. The purpose of sharing data should be to help each other identify and correct any weak areas your students might have. Sharing data with that purpose is a very powerful tool to increase student achievement.
Whatever your PLC situation is, try and make it into a situation that helps you push your students to the next level. As teachers that’s one of the best things we can do!