13 Deadly Sins of PD
In my neck of the woods, this is the magical week in which teachers go back to balance their time between finishing room preparation and sitting through year-launching professional development sessions. Some sessions can address useful topics, and some are unfortunate choices (my wife's district decided to welcome their teachers back for the year by starting their first day with a session about suicide).
If you have to sit through PD, then you know the drill. But if you are PD presenter, here are the Thirteen Deadly Sins to avoid:
1) Don't Read Us The Power Point
Frankly, if there's power point at all, I'm not that excited. But if you are just going to read us the power point slides, do us all a favor-- put those slides in an email attachment, send it out, and let us all sit in front of our own computer and read the presentation to ourselves. Seriously-- what is reading it out loud supposed to do for us? You're going to unlock new levels of meaning by the use of your vocal inflections? You want to give us a chance to close our eyes without missing anything? You're one of those edumalpracticioners who not only believes in scripting, but thinks scripting is more effective when your students can see the script you're reading? Or this isn't actually your presentation and you have no idea what the hell you're talking about, so you'll just read what's there and hope that gets you through the hour?
There is no good reason to read power point slides to an audience over the age of five. Stop it. Stop it right now.
2) Don't Wave Around Sort-of-Teacher Credentials
Introducing yourself is a legit good idea, but just be honest. Especially don't try to fake us out by trying to connect with us professionally. Here are honest introductions that we never hear at PD sessions.
I was a classroom teacher up until about five years ago when I decided that I'd rather get into something easier and cushy like textbook repping. I have some vague memory of what teaching was like, but frankly, I scrubbed that out of my brain as soon as I took my first ride in my sweet company car.
I taught for about two years and realized I couldn't hack it, but there I was with an education degree, and what the hell else was I going to do. Thank God there were consulting jobs opening up.
Oh, yeah! I was absolutely a teacher, by which I mean I did two years with Teach for America, trying to make up for all the terrible work you so-called professionals were doing. But that let me CURMUDGUCATION: 13 Deadly Sins of PD: