PD, or Professional Development, can cause educators to loudly sigh, roll their eyes, or even fall asleep. But does it have to be this way? Do educators have to feel that "PD" is synonymous with "wasting time"? Or is PD even neccessary?!
Maybe what PD presenters should be asking themselves are, "Is the PD I'm attending effective? Is the PD helping student achievment? Does this PD work within the educators' daily schedule? How often will the PD be revisited?"
As a magnet coach, I don't want the eductors I'm leading during a PD to roll their eyes, sigh, or fall asleep. I want the session to be relevant, respectful of the educators' time, and inspiring. I want my sessions to be experienced by the educator in a way that also demonstrates how students learn. I know I shut down during a PD where someone talks at me. And I want time to explore the new ideas, ask questions, and have meaningful discussions with my peers during the PD. I want people to be excited about the information I'm going to share with them. So it made sense that my research should be based on professional development and how it affects student agency.
What I didn't expect during my research, was how the pandemic would greatly affect professional development. I teach virtually from home. So I really had to up my Zoom game and make sure that what I presented had all the elements I mentioned before. I also learned that no matter how much I make my PD's accessible to all educators, there are still factors I may not have accounted for. Like...an educator's willingness to adopt a new way of teaching.
I'm not sure I will continue the research specifically. If I do, I would definately do things differently. I woud like to try doing the research when the pandemic is no longer an issue. I want to see if there is a correlation between our school's first trimester teaching in a pandemic, my first time being a magnet coach, the educators being in a less stressful teaching environment, and compare the data.
Do we long for the days when "times were simpler"? But really, were they? It seems to me like things are quite simple for us in 2020. Well...despite the effects of the pandemic.
We've all been there. We've all walked into a room with a plethora of chairs and tables, anxiously looking at anyone who is already seated feeling our souls are being looked into. We make a half-second eye contact with someone as we push past. Sometimes we mutter a squeaky, "excuse me." We continue shuffling, and take our place near the back (with the way back already taken) instead of the front, so as not to appear too eager. We look to our left and right and say a quick, "hello" as we rummage through our belongings looking for our pen and notepad (or laptop/device). We breathe a sigh of relief as we wait for others to join, doing the same dance we just performed. And then...we stare deeply into their souls as they, now, push past.
Sarah Magallano teaches 5th grade. She also coaches teachers on integrating art & engineering into their lesson plans.