Saturday, August 30, 2014

5 Types of Professional Development

We start school this week.  WE START SCHOOL THIS WEEK.  My students just found out that I'm their teacher yesterday.  They have no idea who I am, so I'm guessing it was a little anti-climactic.

I've spent three whole weeks in training.  New teacher training.  Writing camp training.  Professional Development.  Technology classes.  ER Training.  The works.  I'm all trained up.

I love professional development.  I love to learn about my teaching passion.  Sign me up for all of it.  However, time is money my friends, and I also have this teaching career that takes a lot of my time.  I love it, but there's a lot going on in my head when I'm attending training.  I want to devour the information at hand, but also make it fit with what I've got going on in the classroom.  I want ideas that are great, research based, helpful, and to the point.

But how many times have you left an entire day or even week of presentations and someone asked how it was and you said "it was ok".  Some presentations are going to be like that and are necessary.  First aid and emergency training, for instance.  I've done it a zillion times, but it's important and we will continue to do it even thought most of the time it's review.  Then some are huge wastes of time.  Then some are fabulous.

So this time of year when I have a billion things to do on my list and I'm sitting in meetings, this is how I'm feeling....

Here's how I break down the presentations I attend...

The Pinterest Presentation
This is probably my top choice for worst presentation.  I would actually rather listen to someone read directly from their Powerpoint Presentation of slides that they also gave to us in handouts.  Slide after slide of pictures found from Pinterest, which are, 99.9% of the time, not sited for original sources because it's "from Pinterest".  

I will follow that up with, I am most frustrated in any presentation that begins or ends with "Just go to Google/Pinterest and type in 'blahblahblah' and this will all come up."  If that's the case, then just email me some key words and I'll do it myself and save myself these 6 hours.  You also just lost a lot of credibility as a presenter.

The "You Present" Presentation
I know some people love these "you do" presentations because that's how they learn and we're teachers so we love that stuff.  But just financially speaking, this one drives me bonkers.  Either I'm paying you or you're paying me to be here.  If I'm paying you, then I'd like you up there doing the work.  Don't dedicate 3 hours of your 9 hours of presentation (plus hotel and travel) to me doing some research and teaching that I will never use again, just for you to sit and smile and tell us all we're doing a great job.  I'm a teacher.  Statistically that just doesn't make sense.  We can't all be doing great.  Some of us aren't and you don't care because you get paid either way.  If you're paying me, then you already know I'm a professional and can do my job.  You could pay me less if you let me go earlier and skipped the part where I make up a bunch of stuff.  I have never used a presentation I created for a training in my actual teaching (have you???).  If you want to see me teach, pop in to my classroom when I'm already getting paid and catch me working my magic.

The Directions Presentation
The one I attend because it's the only way for me to get those 4 directions I really need to get started or get finished.  Then I spend hours wandering the web because the rest is self-explanatory.  However most of the time, these are truly helpful for anyone who isn't very fluent in computers, so I can't complain.

The "Time for You" Presentation
This one usually begins with 30 minutes or so of great information or training.  It ends with "now we want to give you some time to work".  Sometimes this is helpful.  Typically it's timed when I have a billion other things I'd rather be doing because I can do this particular task later.

The Empowering Presentation
The best.  The best of the best.  You learn something new.  It's something practical for your classroom.  One of my coworkers went to one of these the other day and she came back exploding with excitement.  She flipped through pages of notes and promised copies for everyone and was pumped to get back to her classroom and begin.  Love when that happens.

But if you look at it from this perspective, then attending all those professional development days isn't so bad.....

Do you have any to add to the list??


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