Monday, June 9, 2014

As summer begins, so does frustration...

Another end to the school year brings so many emotions...relief, anticipation, excitement, and frustration.  Yes, frustration.  Many school districts in the area were faced with adjusting the "typical" close of the school year.  In the past the students left and then the teachers followed after a few days.  This year, our district end loaded professional development days for teachers.  This year, the offerings feature:

  • A FedEx style opportunity (called DiY PD - Do it Yourself Professional Development)
  • Moodle creation for new teachers
  • Professional choice of technology sessions facilitated by teachers & admin.
  • Hands-on sessions to move to a new email system
  • Curriculum writing & revision
  • Options to complete sessions on your own time and NOT actually report to a building

The overall theme of this WEEK of PD is flexibility.  It is something that, in my 15 years with the district, has not been attempted or accomplished on this large of a scale.  Our leadership team of administrators has worked hard to shift the mindset of each other and the teachers of the district...moving more toward, as Dan Pink describes in Drive, autonomy, mastery & purpose.  Willingness to take risks and be flexible.

Unfortunately, those elements are not yet as widespread as one would have hoped.  I have heard, from both teachers and my fellow administrator colleagues, too many comments about what is WRONG with the professional development "agenda" and not enough about what is RIGHT.

I am excited to see educators learn from their peers, refine curriculum for the fall, make connections with people across the district that they have never met, see plans "revealed" at the end of the DiY sessions, and be challenged by what my colleagues have done and are planning to do.

As I was recently reminded by an excellent veteran teacher while discussing the evaluation for the year..."It is what we make of it."  How true.  Perhaps more colleagues should take that advice.