Thursday, November 6, 2014

Professional Development - Where Excellence is our Vague Idea

Today I had required professional development – you know, something that will help me develop professionally.  Five women presented on various random things that either my school or the district decided was important. 

I wasn’t in the best mood because a) I was at work, and b) this was taking up my conference period, which I really needed, and c) I had already had a rough day with my students.  So when one of our assistant principals got up and talked about SLANT, I wanted to throw something at her head.  Instead, I nodded respectfully and took “notes” in my interactive notebook, which was thoughtfully provided by the school. 

SLANT is familiar to me.  I used to work at KIPP schools, and I’ve read “Teach Like a Champion,” so I know what it means.  But I had just broken up a fight in my classroom between two girls and had listened to freshmen complain about having to complete classwork they deem “boring,” plus had to send another student to the office for laughing in my face when I told her she couldn’t eat in class.  So frankly, the importance of making sure students sit up, nod and track the speaker at all times seemed kind of irrelevant, at that point.

“This is what the district wants to see in all classrooms,” Ms. Hansen informed us.  I know what I want to see in all classrooms, but I doubt that’s going to happen, especially from a school that tells me not to send kids to the office, “because that’s what they want, to get out of class!” and instead tells me to write up a referral and someone will come take the disruptive student away.  I’m not holding my breath on that one.

I did feel like I developed professionally today.  I learned 21st century skills of ignoring my supervisors and trying to get actual work done, despite being hampered by upper management idiocy.  All in all, I’d say that I definitely walked away with real life skills and a commitment to care less and do less.