Professional development everywhere

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Passing by schools, I see parking lots filled with cars. We are all getting developed and with good reason: Teachers are required to have a certain number of professional development house (PD) in order to retain their licenses. Expectations and requirements keep going up too. My two masters’ degrees spared me from some of those hours in the past. In the future, I get no break for my previous education. I will need 120 hours of development for my next renewal, instead of 40. At an average of 6 hours per development day, that’s 20 days.

Eduhonesty: I don’t know how I feel about this. Continuing education has provided me with great ideas and strategies, some that I have been able to put into practice immediately. I love taking classes for enrichment.

On the other hand, after awhile these PD sessions become repetitive. I have an opportunity to go be developed for the next three days. They will pay me, so I probably should go. I’ve attended so many PD seminars on the topic in question, though, that I doubt the usefulness of parking my posterior in the latest uncomfortable chair. Who knows if the presenters have even taught in a public school classroom? I have been lectured at by men and women who have only taught college students and all I can say about those experiences is, “I’m sorry but until you have lived through a day in a room with twenty or thirty middle school students, please don’t tell me how to manage my classroom.” These are the same people who think you can easily break a class into four groups and then work with one group while the other three cheerfully do independent work.

Hah! I might even be able to make a mathematical law to cover this four-group suggestion: distance from the teacher is inversely proportional to time spent discussing romantic prospects and Justin Bieber. Bieber wins in this scenario, not the students. You can’t take your eyes off some kids and you shouldn’t take your eyes off others. I know this. Presenters who don’t understand what I am saying should not apply. I am especially suspicious because tomorrow’s presenters are coming from a publishing company.

But I’ll likely go. I just hope I learn something to justify all that time in a chair. I hate being stuck in chairs. That’s one reason I enjoy teaching. Possibly it’s also one reason I can make teaching work. I completely empathize with those kids who need to get up and move, even as I deny them their fifth bathroom break of the day.