The two extremes of people in these meetings are those who have decided they have nothing to learn from it so they tune out immediately and those who believe that PD is part of your job that you get paid to endure so you have to sit there, be quiet, and consume.
The vast majority of teachers, based on sitting in these meetings over the past few years, fall somewhere in the middle. They are engaged 80% of the time, take a few extra bathroom breaks, explore facebook/check emails under the table, and walk away generally unfulfilled and slightly annoyed by the experience.
My criticism has always been that PD should reflect the expectations we're being held to in the classroom. PD should be differentiated based on needs of the faculty, the presenter should be qualified to provide said training, and the information should be presented in a way that attracts participation and attention. If the administrator that is in charge can't get a room full of people being paid to pay attention to pay attention, there's a problem there.
Last week, PD was different than I'm used to. It was fun. I feel like I learned from it. Why? It was teacher centered. Oh man, that sounds almost like "student centered." Coincidence? Nope.
We were broken into small groups and instead of being asked to role play, build marshmallow towers, or play guess that MRS, the facilitator had us share our experiences with homework, student skills, test performance, and other topics that we thought were important enough to bring up. As people shared, other teachers chimed in with potential solutions to common issues, constructive criticism based on observations, and new ideas for teaching content teachers were struggling with.
Not one cellphone was out. Nobody got up to get water or go to the bathroom. There was no sleeping, fidgeting, or sighing.
Why? Why was this different from the norm?
It was PD created by teachers for teachers based on the things that teachers wanted to talk about and improve on. We were the presenters. That barrier that we put up sometimes where we assume the person has no idea what they're talking about because they haven't taught our kids, don't have kids in the district, don't know anything about our classrooms, was eliminated by putting our peers in charge.
I hope we have more just like it.
Dallas ISD Professional Development Days
Should Dallas Teachers skip PD to tutor their students?
DISD Teacher PD Conference Reflection 1 - Was it worth it?
DISD Teacher PD Conference Reflection 2 - Economics and Education
DISD Teacher PD Conference Reflection 3 - Coaching
DISD Teacher PD Conference Reflection 4 - Taking it all in
Making your own PD: Watching a Master Dallas Teacher