10 Reasons Why District Professional Development Sucks

Columbus Day has come and gone! Students get the benefit of one less Monday and teachers get District Professional Development. It’s interesting how District PD and the Columbian Exchange are eerily similar. They are both thought to be serendipitous and are responsible for the annihilation of a people and their spirit! No matter how you slice it, professional development often sucks. Most teachers would rather use that time to work on content or rest. God forbid that happen! However, school districts need to justify the jobs of people who need to justify the school calendar, that justifies the jobs of the state officials, whose work needs serious justification!  Without further alliteration…here are 10 Reasons Why District Professional Development Sucks:

1.RELEVANCE

I have been through almost a decade of educational training and rarely has it ever been anything more than a regurgitation of the same district initiatives. By now, I think veterans understand how to break down a teaching standard and create a lesson plan. Rule #1: know your audience!

2. LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION

I don’t know about you but being forced to learn in a middle school cafeteria is not fun! Seriously, my butt and back do not feel good after sitting in plastic pizza chairs for three hours! The district cannot spring a few bucks to help us learn in comfort? You could just have classrooms available. Better yet, have it an online webinar that can be conducted from the comfort of your couch. God forbid school districts think outside the box. It’s not like we are asking for leather recliners and stadium seating. Although, both would be nice! Convocation in a church is okay, but comfort in order to learn is not?

3. BYOF

Come on, this should be a no-brainer! Provide some snacks!  Cheetos would go a long way; I am a Cheez-It man myself.  Teachers gets really ugly when we learn we not only have to give up our time, but our money for food.

4. PREPARATION AND PRESENTATION

You ever hear the expression chance favors the prepared mind? Just wait to see what happens to the speakers who complete their presentation the night before or when the embedded film in the slideshow doesn’t work. PD becomes “Lord of The Flies.” Even better is when the speaker lectures for two and half hours about how we should stop lecturing in class. Hypocritical much?

5. TEACHERS MAKE THE WORST STUDENTS

One of my students once asked me if the adult world was different than middle school.  I said, “Other than bills and taxes…not much at all.”Especially enlightening are the teachers that complain endlessly about the behavior of their students while acting just like them during a training. They can’t understand why their kids just don’t behave!?

6. MY TIME IS VALUABLE

I am a teacher. I always have something to work on. A full day to get some classwork done and some prep….heaven! Spending three hours writing learning objectives that turn into semantic arguments about what the meaning of the word is, is… wastes my time. As Al Pacino said in the movie “Heat,” “Don’t waste my m@##$$#$%% time!”

7. JUSTIFYING THE JUSTIFICATION

It would be nice if district P.D. had a theme. Lets call it a guiding principle for the year. Not a task! There hardly ever seems to be a rhyme or reason why districts choose what we need. It all seems so random. Therefore it turns into a justification to justify a P.D. that justifies the states mandate, justifying peoples jobs. Nothing justifies wasting teachers time with just garbage.

8. WHY CANT WE TRY, I DON’T KNOW… TEACHING

Here’s a thought, maybe we should work in our classrooms so that we become better teachers. Hmm? I wonder what magic teachers could muster for their classrooms if their only directive was to create lesson plans. A pipe dream, yes. But one that maximizes educator utility!

9. I’M NOT MAGELLAN

I don’t mind getting up and going to my own campus for Professional Development.  I can make myself more comfortable by bringing my chair. I can be extremely productive by closing my door and putting on some alpha wave music. I cannot be productive when I have to start at my own campus, be there for an hour, then drive to another campus and try to find a place to park. Then, I need to go to a completely different campus for the afternoon session? What the hell is this Amazing Race?

10. MEET THE LATEST TEACHING FAD

The best, and by best I mean worst, is when someone at a district Death Star reads a book and thinks to themselves, “THIS IS WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING?! LETS DO THIS FOR OUR NEXT MANDATED PD!” In and of itself that’s harmless. But, when we are always attempting to try the latest trend in teaching without mastering last months focus, well, you end up with the education system you presently have. Stop jumping on bandwagons and just focus on those things that makes teachers better teachers. But what do I know, I am just a teacher….with a blog.

 

As always thank you for reading Tales From The Red Pen. It has been a pleasure writing for you. Id love to hear from you! Comment please. Share TFRP with a friend! Until next week I bid you…Adieu.