Professional Development That Inspires Real Change

At 5:30 this morning, I was returning home from dropping Hannah off to do hair and makeup with her color guard friends. As I mused about the absurdity of teen-aged girls, I turned on my local NPR station to let the BBC keep me company on the way home. I heard the interviewer talking with someone whose company works with business to teach them to allow their workers creative time–to integrate the arts into the business world. (I know that I’m stating it simply, but that is the gist of what they do.)

The interviewer pointed out that this type of professional development is often the type that sends workers back to their cubicles/desks feeling energized and full of ideas to implement what they have learned, and then, the reality of what they do on a daily basis sets in and nothing is ever developed and nothing is created. I started thinking about some of the professional development (PD) I have attended in the past. This (PD) usually came from a school or district mandate and has had nothing to do with what I feel I need to work on to grow as a professional. Case in point: writing workshop-full day-and full of gimmicks. Not exactly how I want  to spend a day learning how to become a better teacher of writing. Now, the PD that I have chosen to attend, Thinking Math I, Reform Symposium, and my (almost) daily participation on Twitter are professionally fulfilling and have really changed my practice. That’s the kind of PD I think that schools/districts should encourage teachers to participate in–the kind that inspires real change.

What types of Professional Development has helped you to grow and change as a professional?

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