Professional development day is a day where we learn to act professional, despite all the idiocy, gimmicks, demands, crap and unrealistic expectations that are thrown at us.
I finally realized this today. It’s not so important that we LEARN anything, although we do have lots of “gimmicks” that are pulled out of the “teacher toolbox” to show us how we are supposed to “effectively” get the lesson materials across. We deployed many “strategies” to help us “unpack the standards,” in order for us to finally capture the Holy Grail of teaching, the “a-ha moment.”
You’ll never see teachers as seethingly angry as they are when someone is asking them to “make a foldable,” or telling them to “think-pair-share.” We are adults (well, most of us), and to have a facilitator condescend to us in that way feels, you know, condescending. I make mental notes to look for the session leader afterwards in the parking lot so I can run him or her over with my car, or at least slash his or her tires. Hopefully this person will deploy some problem solving strategies to deal with me, because then I’d REALLY be learning, and the lesson would be unforgettable.
Today, at 2:20, we found that our lesson plan format has to radically change, as of tomorrow. Tomorrow our fearless district leaders will be walking the halls of our rapidly sinking ship of a school to see if we are now using the “gradual release” model of teaching. I am – by shoving kids gradually out into the hallways when their behavior gets on my nerves. I like to send them out in pairs so they can turn and talk on their way to the office.
It’s baffling why the district thinks that in a few short hours, everything is going to change to a new style, particularly after they’ve spent the past eighteen weeks hammering on another ineffective lesson plan style. Sudden change is always good, right? Especially for kids, who thrive on routine and trust, right? Maybe this is a new way to help us “differentiate” our instruction. I just know that it’s not a good thing when the unqualified administrator who’s giving you this news also seems unhappy about it. Heck, she’s usually happy about any way to stick it to those of us in the trenches.
Her advice? “I’m teaching you how to play the game.”
I think we already know how it’s played, but we’re the ones losing. What we really need is a way to make the game more enjoyable, maybe with the “integration of technology” or some “scaffolding.” That way we can demonstrate some “higher-order thinking skills” and hopefully gain some knowledge that helps, what with all our “diverse learning styles.”
See you in the parking lot. That’s my part of the game.