Monday, February 14, 2011

Professional Development Reminder

Just when I start really missing teaching, I remember that, although I miss the relationships I had with the students, I really really don't miss the bureaucracy.  Here's a look into a professional development session, four years ago.  You can see that the intent is good but that none of our specific needs were taken into account, making the whole thing almost useless.  This is time that could be spent really helping teachers who need ideas and strategies, and it's hard not to feel bitter when it's wasted.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Professional Development





We read a story about Picasso which told about his Blue Period. We tried a Blue Period too - I don't know which shades of blue Picasso had, but we used black, white, royal blue, sky blue, turquoise, and glitter blue. Picasso could have used glitter blue.
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Professional development is often an exercise in boredom and/or sitting still. I never like it. Today we had a training on Every Day Counts. The first problem was that the presenter asked us was if we would put everything else away. We never put everything else away. Everyone is always working on at least two other things. Stapling packets of work, correcting homework, writing lesson plans, knitting (I'm not the only one!), cutting things... there's sort of an underlying understanding that we all have way more work than we need and not enough time so if we can multi-task, then we will.
So, she says to put everything else away, "if you don't mind." But I did mind! As did everyone else, judging by the looks on their faces. But it turns out that "if you don't mind," means "I don't care if you mind or not." So we put everything away. But the "helper presenter" kept her cell phone on, and its cute little dance ring went off. So, who was the distracting one?
She explained the program, which is great in theory. It teaches math using a calendar, with patterns, multiples, fractions, etc. Sadly, it needs almost an entire wall to be set up, which is room no one really has. It also involves a lot of use of Post-It Notes, which the school isn't about to buy for us, and are just one more set of things the teacher would have to buy.
The other thing the cheery happy blond lady presenting doesn't seem to understand, is that since the program involves lots and lots of little bits of pieces and things (look here) for examples - little coins and pieces of plastic and paper clips and laminated things and number tiles, etc, all sort of precariously balanced on an easel... all it takes is one child to throw a medium-sized temper tantrum and all your carefully counted little bits of things that have been carefully adding up since day one of school are going to go flying.
I don't think she's worked with kids who throw temper tantrums. 
 
 
                        Sometimes, Kids are Just Plain Weird

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