Friday, March 27, 2015

Profession Development Gluttony? Refine your Palate.

Are you a professional development glutton? Take the Quiz:

Do you feel like there is nothing in teacher training sessions that you really enjoy?
Do you look over the session schedule and are uninterested in most sessions being offered?
Do you often wonder why so many sessions feel the same?
Do your conversations fall back to "how can we do professional development different?"
Do you feel like your wasting your time at conferences but you still attend?
Have you been to 10 or more trainings in the last year?

Did you answer yes to any or most of these questions?

So are you fat? Not physically... but are you fat with knowledge? Are you part of the growing group of educators who are eating at the ever expanding table of educations professional development?

For a while, it felt as though professional development, at least in California, had all but disappeared. Now it seems as though the opportunities are endless. I find myself feeling like I've been gorging at the PD table for the last few years.  As creatures of habits, I continue to go back to the same style of restaurant all while expecting new flavors that I can't find on the menu. I search the menu of sessions hoping to see something that sounds tasty, but it's all starting to look the same. How many ways can you have "tech-calamari" or "pedagogy-pasta?"  I've been doing my best to share all the food I've been enjoying, but more and more the flavors seem to lose their taste.

Others I know, who are also feeling full as well, are turning like foodies, to try and discover the hole-in-the-wall restaurant that's yet undiscovered. Some who are searching are even becoming their own chiefs by offering PD in ways that may not have been offered. Others are even going as far as opening their own "restaurants" or by starting "PD franchises."  And others are traveling great distances hoping to find different flavors to bring back home. Some have stuck close and are trying to demand more from the same restaurant we've been eating at for years. All these efforts don't seem to get to the heart of the matter.   When you're full your full.  Sometimes stepping away from the table is the best solution.  I'm certainly not trying to imply that anyone should stop going to professional development, but I am challenging the notion that more professional development leads to better classroom learning for students. For me, I need to refine my palate. How do I plan on doing this in the next few years?

My hopes are to put aside professional development and focus on personal development.  I want to find ways to expand the person I am, develop new passions, and learn more about things outside of education than inside. To put into practice, in my own life, all I've learned that is great for my students. I'm going to do more making, playing, and less homework! I'm going to spend more time experiencing learning through projects, choice and inquiry. I'm going to get back to the roots of learning. My hopes are that I'll discover what else I can offer my students and their families. I hope this will refine my palate.

Refining your palate and expanding your taste seems to be the way I will move forward as an educator.  Does your palate need refining? How will you refine yours? Share with me and be sure to check out some of my past blog post, point out errors or just say hello.