As I read Dean Shareski’s blog post on changing professional development, two thoughts came to mind: 1) I want to work for admin like you, 2) this IS how professional development should be run.
Lately, as a professional, I have felt like I’m not completely trusted to learn on my own. You MUST choose x number of sessions – but what if these topics don’t interest me? Now, my division has made huge strides to get rid of this – even being so flexible as to allow its teachers to create a relevant Professional Learning Opportunity (PLO) instead of forcing us to attend convention. (Convention isn’t so bad, but as a senior physics/math teacher, I’m usually lucky if there is 1 session that I can directly use).
Professional development should allow a teacher to grow in what they are passionate. I would LOVE to spend two days researching and developing new problem-based learning initiatives in my classroom, but I’m not given that choice on professional development day. Even during our PLO time we MUST connect this learning to the division or school goal – what if my growth goal for the year doesn’t fit into those? Yes, I understand those goals are important, but generally in math they are about having students achieve a certain percentage of the concept attained (that rant is for a whole different blog post).
So, Dean Shareski, I wholeheartedly applaud your attempts at allowing teachers learn what they want. This is looking to the future. Let’s treat our teachers like our students – put them in charge of their own learning, and watch!