I'm at a conference of which the focus is technology and education. The meeting I'm sitting in right now is fascinating; the day has been fascinating. So many great folks doing really great things with incredible work, passion, and ideas. Makes me almost wish I was back in the classroom full-time, faculty meetings and all, to try to implement some of this. But that's not why I write.
A colleague of mine and I had been talking recently about professional development and it seems to be that far too many classroom teachers have been conditioned to believe that professional development is something to be endured. And that if they happen to learn something, it's somehow a bonus. I've heard people talk about "forced professional development" and that's a term that makes me nauseous. And yet, it's true. Too often PD is something that is foisted on teachers so everyone can check the box that they've "done" their professional development.
I suppose it's disingenuous to suggest that those PD experiences should actually help teachers development in their profession. But somehow we've all made it much harder for teachers to experience a half-day, full-day, or extended PD experience that seems to be of any value. Or that's what they think? Or those are the folks who are complaining about PD?
I'm not sure I have a direction for this except that I've taken this to heart: a lot of what I do can be classified as professional development. It saddens me that there are teachers, administrators, leaders, and PD providers who believe that K-12 classroom teachers simply go through the motion, again, to check the PD box. But if this idea is pervasive, is it truer than we think? Or have we conditioned teachers, administrators, leaders, and PD providers to think PD is an experiened to be endured rather than a learning experience to be enjoyed, even savored, because it gives teachers the opportunity to continue to learn and improve their practice. And maybe, just maybe, they can recapture the joy and passion for teaching.