Skip to main content

Yawn, Fidget, Cringe: "Professional Development"?

We've all been there: yawning, fidgeting, cringing--it's "Professional Development"!

By Revital Salomon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


On many occasions I have suffered through "Professional Development," and on other occasions I was the one inflicting the suffering. Professional development isn't always bad, boring or irrelevant; sometimes it's downright fascinating! Regardless of the quality, we all have a responsibility to put the "Professional" in the "Development".


How should we treat "Professional Development"?


Administrators and Professional Development Planners:


  • Refrain from using PD as a punitive measure. If you have staff members with "issues," address these individually; don't create a PD to blanket the entire staff with topics meant for one or two.
  • Communication is essential; no one should have to guess why this PD is taking place. Well ahead of time, clearly articulate what you are asking staff to learn/do, and why. Is this something required by the state? Does this address an area of weakness in the school performance profile? Do you feel it is relevant to topics our students are facing?
  • Utilize the professionals in your building(s). Are your experienced teachers involved in planning and presentation? What expertise do they have that they could share?
  • Consider giving PD options to your staff; trust them to choose what is most necessary, relevant or interesting to them.
  • Participate in PD alongside, not over, your staff. If you feel the PD is necessary for your building(s), join with your staff in the training, and be an invested participant.
  • Treat  your teachers as professionals, even if/when they don't behave that way. Model professionalism.


Teachers (and sometimes PD presenters):


  • Professional Development is a Professional opportunity; behave like a Professional. It's not time to grade papers, text friends, carry on a conversation, or critique the presenter. Even if you do not like or appreciate the PD, it is your responsibility to attend and learn. Set an example for your colleagues.
  • Commit to learning. Whether the PD is a training mandated by your district, part of advanced degree work, or a pursuit of interest, approach it with a learner's attitude: what can I take away from this and apply?
  • Respect the presenter(s). Make eye contact. Nod. Refrain from scowling or shaking your head in disagreement. (You can address areas of conflicting opinion personally, not in public.) Thank the presenter for his/her time. 
  • Experienced teachers: be willing to be involved. Avoid cynicism and criticism--in yourself or in your colleagues. Care. Model the learning attitude you desire in your students. A new teacher is not an "annoying know-it-all". He/She may have valuable information and skills to share. Besides, being a listener is a great way to establish a relationship in which you can contribute to the new teacher.
  • Newer teachers: be willing to be involved, and be willing to be a learner. Avoid the all-knowing smug look. An experienced teacher is not a "cave man" just because his/her tactics differ from your current training. "New" is not always "Better".


Together we can give new meaning to both words:


PROFESSIONAL

DEVELOPMENT


Let's Do This!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Twelve Little Gifts, Thirteen Melted Hearts

My 8th period Spanish 1 class keeps me on my toes; I’ve determined that we are together at the end of the day, not for Spanish (though we do that, too), but for “Life”. Twelve young men and women and I are learning how to navigate life together, facing our difficulties and finding ways to overcome them.
We learn how to behave in a classroom setting. It should be obvious, but I’m learning not to assume. What is most important, and why? How does your behavior affect your academic success? How does your behavior affect others?
We learn how to work with each other, and this requires extensive training. At times it’s like “Boot Camp”: training, retraining, practice, retraining, a few more gray hairs, practice, retraining, repeat. This is how you ensure that everyone can take part This is how you express opinion without tearing down your classmate This is WHY you learn to work with others
We learn the importance of completing tasks, and completing them well. Responsibility is learned, not ingra…

I choose Integrity!

Here I stand before the open door...2017 is beckoning me forward.
How will I live in this new year? 

I choose INTEGRITY.
Google defines integrity as "the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness".

Every day I am faced with choices to make. Some choices are easy and cost little; others come with a greater cost. Do I really believe what I say I believe, or is it something to be discarded when it becomes inconvenient? Fully aware of the cost, I choose INTEGRITY.

C.S. Lewis fleshes out the definition: "Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching".


Both public and private choices carry weight, and all carry consequences. A careless word can pierce a heart. Inaction can cause grievous consequences for someone in an untenable situation. Selfish choices can wound a relationship or destroy a trust. Fully aware of the consequences, I choose INTEGRITY.

Tony Dungy: "Integrity. The choice between what's convenient an…

I Won't Give Up, Will You?

During the first week of school two years ago I overheard this comment: "My sister says that if she (referring to me) gives me any ****, she will come in and **** her!" If those "terms of endearment" were any indication, I was in for an interesting year!
Relationships require forgiveness.
"Sarah" came to class each day defiant. She swore at the drop of a hat, pushed for her own way, antagonized her classmates, and kept us from any moments of peace. But Sarah wasn't alone. She had several accomplices, students who were determined to disrupt, cause chaos, and demonstrate their independence and self-importance.

Each day was a challenge. Several times I deflected fights, and once had to have assistance for other teachers when Sarah and two other girls shouted obscenities and threats at one another.

All my attempts failed, at least with Sarah and company.

Relationships require patience.
One of my best assets in the classroom is patience. I believe that I am…