The Professional Life Cycles of Teachers (Tessa Woodward)

I’ve heard about this talk from the 2013 IH Director of Studies conference many times, so when YouTube suggested it to me this evening, I finally decided to watch it. I’m glad I did.

In this 52-minute talk, Tessa describes a framework based largely on work by Michael Huberman describing teachers’ impressions of the different stages of our professional life cycle. It was full of fascinating quotes from teachers, many of which rang true with stages I have been through or people who I have worked with.

When searching for a link to Huberman’s work, I also came across this IH Journal article by Ron White on Teachers’ Professional Life Cycles, which covers some of the same ground as Tessa’s talk, although I’m not sure if it pre- or post-dates the presentation.

On a completely different note, it was also a pleasure to see a presentation which doesn’t rely on PowerPoint, and it inspires me to have a go at a different presentation style for at least one talk over the next year. I do it sometimes on CELTA, but have always used PowerPoint for conferences and seminars.

It would be good to know whether you think this kind of framework has practical applications, or whether it’s just something that’s interesting to be aware of.

7 thoughts on “The Professional Life Cycles of Teachers (Tessa Woodward)

  1. Also, regarding your closing Q: Could have practical application in setting up CPD events, mentoring, etc. But is in general just good to be aware of, especially if in charge of as team, to help us understand teachers at different career stages. Just my 2p worth!


    1. Thanks for that Clare. I found it particularly useful to be reminded of some of the thoughts of new teachers, especially young ones who aren’t sure about how to relate to their students.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry for the delay in responding! I often find these kinds of reminders helpful – it’s like deep down we maybe know these things, or have at least heard of them / thought about it / gone through it ourselves, but in the mad rush of the day concrete thoughts on these things get buried, and it’s good to have them highlighted again for us, especially if we’re involved in mentoring newer teachers, etc..


  2. HI Sandy, not sure if you can help but I am looking for the research articles that Tessa referred to in this talk. Particularly the ones by Susan Bardhun. I don’t suppose you still have the handout with the links on it do you. Yes, I know it’s far-fetched as it was over a year ago! 🙂


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