Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Teacher Spends a Day in PD, What She Realizes May Shock You!

     Our division sets aside five days every year to commit to professional development. Whether it is division-wide or school-based the purpose is clear... for teachers to embrace a growth mindset, continue their professional learning, refocus their pedagogy, and increase how successful their classroom is (with the definition of "success" looking different in different situations). Sometimes professional development days are tailored to meet the needs of specific teachers like meeting in grade-groups or by subject-level. A lot of times they are more general and include all teaching staff regardless of their teaching assignment.

     Division-wide or school-based... subject-specific or general... one thing that is almost always consistent is that teachers tend to dislike professional development! Ask anyone on your staff.... hold that... ask yourself... how many times have you dreaded a professional development day? Now I know there are exceptions to the rule, but a lot of times professional development is:

1) forced 
-  teachers have little to no say in the topic, presenter, format, etc

2) lecture-style
- especially when the topic is more general and is presented to an entire division

3) involves a lot of sitting
- hopefully you are at least in a chair and not gym bleachers

     Now ask yourself, "How often does your classroom environment mimic this?"

- how much say do your students have in how they learn?

- are students allow to explore topics that interest them or do you set the content?

- do students always learn from you or can they learn from each other? from experts in the field? from elders in the community?

- can students watch a video instead of read your notes?

- do you talk more than your students do?

- how much time do you expect your students to remain stationary at their desks?

- can students sit on a beanbag chair instead?

     If you dread spending a day in that environment then why are you subjecting your students to it?

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