Krispy Kreme-fueled Professional Development

Assorted Stuff brainstorms on teacher training: “One of the biggest problems with professional development programs in most schools systems is there really isn’t a plan that links the training to the improvement of teaching. Traditionally, teachers must earn a certain number of credits to retain their jobs and earn more money. But it’s largely up to each individual teacher to decide what they they will study….Someone could choose a class in jewelry making or one on using the internet to teach social studies and the two courses would carry the same value…”

Meanwhile, Bud The Teacher is pumped about training on how to teach writing. Instead of useless one-shot lectures, he notes that “one district has committed the resources to provide a year long in-service (five meetings over the course of the school year).”

Coach (not Larry) Brown is probably getting his car keyed this very moment by angry classmates in his current professional development program. “If you aren’t for Multiculturalism in the classroom, you are a racist bastard………or so the attitude that I’m getting from my Multiculturalism class that I’m taking…”

The must-read multi-post is by the sizzlin’ Ms. Frizzle. She describes a week of PD at a UConn teacher training conference called Confratute (Q: why do educators get no respect? A: we have the stupidest names for everything). Frizz’s post is meaningful reflection with a dash of (legitimate) complaining. Start here and work towards July 23.

Goldstein Gone Wild adds: We educators chirp a lot about how we want the same respect as, say, doctors. Let me share an example of doctor professional development.

GGW’s better half is currently spending a week at a snazzy Colorado hotel for some doctor training [note to self: apartment = disaster, 24 hours to clean].

Sounds good, right? Golf, tennis, buffalo, martinis, idle chatter about Martha Stewart’s ankle bracelet?

Nope. These docs are working 14 hours per day “writing protocols” – i.e., they propose an experiment creating a new combination of cancer drugs and how they would structure a randomized trial; then frantically research to find biological arguments to back up their ideas; then they make presentations to a committee of experts who ruthlessly rip them apart. Then they go back to work, present again, and get ripped apart again, all in an atmosphere of urgency and stress.

Is all medical training like this? Hell, no. But can any of us honestly say we’ve ever been to weeklong boot-camp PD where teachers actually got up and taught, had their efforts critiqued without lots of false praise, were dismissed to labor obsessively to improve, tried again, more brutal feedback, etc?

GGW: What have you learned?

Sounds like the KIPP of PD.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.