Thursday, July 27, 2006

Chapter 2

"Many staff developments take the form of something that is done to teachers rather than with them, still less by them." (p17)

“Sitting through” staff development and “engaging in” staff development are two completely different things. I have “sat through” staff development. I been attentive and listened as teachers openly challenged the facilitator exclaiming “yeah but this will never work in my class” or “I do this already in my class I just don’t have a name for it.” I really became disenchanted with professional development because of all these negative experiences. Looking back on the experience, most of the concepts the facilitators were trying to get across were extremely progressive and valuable. However the facilitators forgot to take into account the “teachers” and people who were not ready to change their practice until the culture of the building changed.

Engaging in professional development is something completely different. Actively listening, reflecting on the experience, applying the new practices to lessons, adapting the suggested practices to fit your style and then freely becoming immersed in the vernacular as to better converse with your colleagues is something far more than “sitting through” a PD session. Professional development sessions are finite learning experiences but when effective are starting points for new innovations pedagogy that become common traits of a school culture.

"You cannot understand the teacher or teaching without understanding the person the teacher is. And you cannot change the teacher in fundamental ways without changing the person the teacher is, either." Teaching is a function of the lives, the biographies, and the people the teachers have become. (p25)

Ok, I struggle with this all the time. I am undoubtedly a workaholic. I have often been accused of neglecting other obligations because my mind is “always on school.” I often get frustrated when others are not at the same level of passion about teaching as me. Just because a colleague does not appear to me to be giving 110% of them self (even during the summer) does not mean they are not good teachers. I personally really have to work on this.


Ms. Mayo said...

A solid self-reflection on your part (especially since you made a snide comment to me when I said I was at Staples, and you replied "What were YOU doing at Staples in the summer?" Most of us give as much as we can-- some come early, some stay late, some work at home, some have post-it notes on the dashboard. We have to be careful not to judge others based on our standards. I know it gets tiring when someone like me plays the single mom card, but the truth is we all have ridiculously full and busy lives to juggle. And on top of all the responsibilities, we should all be living rich lives--books, travel, museums, beaches,tequilla shots...okay, where was I going with this?

I go back to the airplane analogy-- when travelling with children, put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then help the children. Sometimes using a sick day to take a bubble bath can make a person a better teacher (says the woman with 70 days in her C.A.R.).

You get the point.

W Brown said...

You make me laugh Mayo

fswetten said...

I agree with MAYO, after 10 months of giving 110% July and August are for my family time. That doesn't mean I am not always thinking of new ideas for the classroom or helping other, I am doing PD for Alex two days in August. Sometime the away from the classroom time makes you a better teacher

W Brown said...

I agree, I definately need the time too. I realize that during the school year, though we all need to be more mindful that people do have lives outside of school. Schools do not make well rounded teachers life does.

goddess said...

I think I'm a work aholic too. I've made other teachers sick this week with how much I got done over the summer. (I think I also have an internet problem, but that's a converstaion for another day)

I loved the comment about not judging others by your standards. This is a struggle for all, but definately somthing to keep in mind when working in this type setting.

As a music teacher, the best piece of advice I recieved, was to find a way to still make music your own. Most musicians do this by joining a performing group. To keep music alive for me, I volunteer at the art museum. It always puts a fresh perspective on what I know of music, music history and musical genres, to see it reflected in a different medium. Wait what was that I heard about tequilla shots?

Anonymous said...

Oh hat off to anyone who actually takes off to take a bubble bath for their mental health. But more importantly it isn't anyone's business why a teacher is out for a day. I trust that my colleagues are out for legitimate reasons, myself included since I am not one with 70 days in my C.A.R. We must try to always remind ourselves to never cast stones. I always think back to my first 2 years of teaching when I thought I would go crazy, wanted to quit and needed a mental health day just to refocus and reduce my anxiety. While I felt guilty about it, it also helped save my career. People work in different ways and we must respect and accept those differences. When we do this we can become a better team that is able to work together more efficiently and effectively to benefit our students.