Monday, June 29, 2015

Professional Development is not a session for 1 hour... I am sorry

If you are addicted to being an educator, then you understand the below.  If not, just hit the X and sign out....  Because what you possibly think and what I am going to write about are not going to match.

PD and PLC is not a 45 min. or a 1 hour session at a conference like ISTE.  Go to an all day session and still that is not true professional development.  Don't get me wrong these serve a purpose and are needed.  There are definitely times to push your vision where everyone needs to be together doing the same work or learning new ideas.  I pull all my staff together, but I always try to make sure there is a purpose for everyone there.

I have spent day 2 at ISTE talking to lots of people and sitting in a few sessions and realized that so many "presenters" package their "method" for content delivery.  Then I went to @gcouros session on innovative mindset.  Finally a session where it was not about regurgitation of a canned product or some idea that may be good, but the way it is told is just dull.

He pushed us to think, we laughed, he asked us to challenge him, he played music, and I sat there waiting for one more nugget of information to put in my bag for later.  His words made sense to me, they connected, and I left feeling good, thinking that my mindset was on the right track!

All that being said, this blog is not about mindset, or ideas or maybe it really is?  I believe everything is about mindset, the lens you view the world, and the framework with which you speak.  This blog should be about PD and PLC not being 45 min or all day.  Going off in tangents is something I need to work on, but within that hour of sitting there I realized the following:


  • Mindset is king of all professional development.  Every time you speak it should be framed within the correct mindset otherwise the message is not meaningful.
  • Professional development as much as possible should be open 24-7 like 7-Eleven.  This means social media (all forms) stops by the office, happy hour (be responsible), driving to work, real time feedback, observations, walkthroughs, walkabouts (something I do, just to get out of office), texting your principal, podcasts, books, blogs, you name it. 
  • When PD does not fit the vision or purpose of the school, you need to tell someone.  I put myself out on a limb here as I deliver a lot of PD.  I will say it again, if the PD does not fit the purpose or the vision of the school, you need to tell someone!  It can not always be fixed as there are still some things we have to do, but you need to at least be heard!
  • Great quote from today with George Couros, "Teachers need to go from A to B or F to G, their movement is specific to them, and as much as possible as a leader we need to account for that".  I agree and #cddolphins might remember a PD about 6 months ago where I very crudely drew a stick figure moving from A to Z within the same framework.
  • We need to be addicts of improvement.  This does not mean you think about school 24-7, but as an idea "hits" you while you sing in the shower, you make sure to write it down and explore it further with someone else.  I am sure @jessica_hoban and @sjones1016 can tell you about the pictures of post-its from the car and random emailed voxes of ideas that I have shared. 

I think you get the message after the list of 5. School is a habit, teachers and administrators need to be fed good food.  If not we turn into savages looking for heads to cut off.  I work hard and try to model good practices of being connected and striving to improve simply to not have my head cut off!  That is my motivation, not really, but ending it that way it is funnier than my original plan.

Here is how I spent my first day at ISTE at an Ignite.  Not great quality, but you should feel the #cddolphins passion!  I put this in here as only evidence of my conviction to make Carrie Downie the best school in the world!


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