How Do You Feel About PD?

How do you feel about PD? I mean ... how do you really feel? Do you find the topics of interest and helpful? Are the presenters knowledgeable?  My professional development experiences have fallen short of my expectations. In fact, I think most PD falls short of what we need and want.

So, what do I expect. I think professional development should be timely, meaningful, short, and stress-free. There is nothing worse than attending the 'back-to-school' professional development sessions to find out that the district is going to implement a new discipline model or curriculum or some other educational trend. This only adds to the before school jitters.

And, why use my time for PD? What is wrong with implementing it during my contract hours? Some of the schools in our area are doing just that. Teachers get an early out on Friday to have faculty meetings, team meetings, and PD.  No more staying late or going early.  PD is related to tasks that need to be completed, like IEPs or project based learning lessons.  This is what I call meaningful, time effective PD.

Some districts allow teachers to select inservice topics and presenters. Nothing gets better than that. Letting teachers select what they need and who they want to listen to OR what conferences they want to attend.  Cookie cutter conferences or having PD just for the sake of having PD is a waste of everyone's time. These practices are also on their way out. I don't see anyone shedding any tears.

Professional Development doesn't have to be a dirty word. It can be a win-win for everyone if the ones in charge of it put forth the effort to remember who should ultimately benefit from it... the students. Give teachers something they can sink their teeth into during their contract time so they aren't pulled away from their home life more than they already are. Give them PD that will impact their classroom performance for real, not just on paper. Teachers don't want something that sounds good. They want something that IS good.

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