Just to Clarify…
What exactly is Professional Development? So many teachers don’t fully understand it. Even those who have participated in years of PD sessions still ask the question “Why can’t we just work on our rooms on these days?” As the art department facilitator in my district I hear this from teachers in and out of my content area. Maybe they have a point, especially if the PD was not engaging or applicable. The truth is, we all kind of wish we could have a full day of planning, however that is definitely not the purpose of professional development. So, I thought I would clarify.
Professional Development IS:
- A time to learn something new to apply to your teaching. New Learning! If you already knew it everything, then you would not need professional development!
- Time to get those inspirational “pie in the sky” ideas. Even if you only take one thing away from a new idea, it is a seed that may be planted and grow in the future to help your teaching.
- Time to apply what you are learning directly to your teaching: Good PD should translate directly into your teaching. It’s a time to learn strategies that work and are usable.
- A time to reflect: how am I doing as an educator? What can I improve upon in my teaching? Who can help me to get where I want to be?
- A time to collaborate with others to bring out the best in your new ideas, new learning and future intentions for that learning.
Professional Development IS NOT:
- Time to work in your room, lesson plan by yourself, or hang artwork in the halls.
- A waste of time. Good PD should value your time and good PD should apply directly to your teaching area. If it doesn’t, then you need to advocate for your own PD, because I truly believe that you know what you need and are interested in better than anyone. (Which is why I send out surveys to my team periodically to help me plan the best PD I can for THEM)
To clarify even further, Professional Development is not always perfect, but as a facilitator I always try to provide clear outcomes, meaningful tasks and objectives, a little fun and team building and something to have at the end of the day as an outcome or artifact that can be taken and used directly in the classroom, and for the most part, I feel our Professional Development days are successful.
Do you agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear!