Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Psst...You Wanna Do PD?

Now a lot of people complain about PD. It starts too early. It ends too late. I knew that stuff already. I didn't know that stuff, I never wanted to know that stuff, and I don't want to know it now either. How come that person talked for the whole period? If I talked for the whole period my supervisor would rate me ineffective.

In our school, we noticed that the highly paid professional PD people sucked. They would come in with a PowerPoint and read it aloud to us. I hate when people do that. Why don't they just print it, hand it out, and go home? Or they could save a tree, email it to us, and we could go home? Why on earth would you do that, and asking audience members to read slides doesn't count as participation.

But some teachers would volunteer to give PD and they were great. We noticed, the principal noticed, and someone said, hey, why don't we offer people a little money to work out a PD? It seemed like a good idea. I liked it, the principal liked it, and there was a little money to play with. So we made up a little form for people to propose PD to our committee. Administration sent it out once, and last week I sent it out again.

Here's the thing, though. No one filled it out. Not one person in our staff of about 300 wants to give PD, not even for money. Now I could walk around and lecture people, but here's the thing--I don't want to do it either. I have no idea what I could give PD on. Maybe something regarding ESL. But, but, I still don't want to do it.

My grandfather was an electrician. Once, a light fixture went out in his home. My grandmother asked him to fix it, and he said he would. She asked him again, and he said he would again. This went on for some time, until he finally told her to call an electrician. When I think about doing PD, I think about my grandfather and how he didn't want to do electrical work when he was home.

I don't mind teaching. I like it, in fact. I don't mind helping kids learn English. It's one of the best things we can do here on Earth, for my money. I'm just not sure I want to tell teachers how to teach, or how I would even do that. I'm not sure what I can teach teachers. I mean, if I wanted to do that I'd probably be an administrator or something, making big bucks and doing Danielson observations. Yuck.

I could teach how to use PowerPoint, except I don't use PowerPoint. I do everything on Apple Keynote and convert it to PowerPoint when I'm finished. From years of looking for illustrations for this blog, writing these things comes easily to me. But PowerPoint is not my thing. I'm fortunate to have a kid in my morning class who's much smarter than I am, who figures out any and all things technical instantly. Without him I'd be lost. Maybe I could give a PD on how to find kids smarter than you to save your ass when you don't know what to do.

I don't know, actually. But for all the people who have and will complain to me that the adminstrators suck at PD, well, it's not gonna matter at all unless we're willing to step up. How do you deal with PD in your school? Are your colleagues jumping up and down for the chance to give PD? Are we uniquely uninterested? Was Chancellor Carmen Fariña mistaken in her notion that PD would save Western Civilization?

Inquiring minds want to know.
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