Very sorry I’ve been absent this past week. People often say that they had a crazy week, but this truly was: I helped run a teacher fair in my district on Tuesday, which was also voting day, we had a death in the family, and celebrated three family birthdays. Yeah, it was a week.
But this week will be different. I have a lot to cover, starting with the recap of our awesome teacher fair that we had on Tuesday.
We hold our District 218 Teacher Fair every other year. It’s a celebration of what we do as a district, showcasing PD created by and administered by teachers and professionals that teachers bring in. I’ve been on the committee for every one, and I can safely say that it is one of the coolest things that our district does.
We bring in a keynote speaker each year, and to be honest, this is one avenue of the fair that has been lacking in the past. We’ve paid thousands of dollars for speakers that have been just…OK. But this year, Ronell and I wanted to change that!
Last year, early October, Ronell and I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting educator and cool guy…Cornelius Minor. His passion is contagious, and his message on point. So, we worked hard to get him as our keynote speaker, and we did. He also presented a few sessions at the fair, and in my opinion, he was the best speaker we’ve ever had. Teachers were asking me why he didn’t speak longer, and if you know teachers at the end of all-day PD, that’s an amazing compliment!
At the end of the event, Cornelius told me that our event was one like he had not seen before: a day of PD created and administered by the teaching staff. It is quite the event.
We strive to get our kids and our classrooms to run without much interference from us. If kids are taking ownership, we are doing something right. And that’s how I see productive PD. Teachers need to be at the forefront of the planning and administration of the PD in their buildings. When we plan the fair, admin is in the room, but they are there only to support us and the mission, like we do in our classrooms.
We need to work against people that have not been in the classroom for years, creating our PD structures. Quality PD should come from teachers…people currently in the trenches, battling for students. Students are not the same students that we saw, even three years ago. An administrator, out of the classroom for ten years, can support the heck out of us, but the disconnect is real. We need to get PD in the hands of teachers, and encourage admin to support our missions and goals.
Most teachers want to get better. And in my experience, most of the positive changes in classrooms come with help from colleagues and the ability to reflect on and change practice. Let’s get this ball rolling!