I decided to clean off the shelves in my room of older material, and I realized just how many conferences, trainings, and other professional development sessions I’ve attended. I must have put 20-25 thick binders into boxes and over 150 files into those boxes as well.
My second epiphany was that most of the trainings were the typical “flavors of the month” that one of the leaders in the district learned and then wanted everyone to learn. Because of this the trainings, as a whole, have been fragmented, lacking a systematic approach, and often repetitious.
It’s frustrating looking back at all of the time, energy, and effort simply placed on the shelf.
As an example, I recently attended a mandatory ELL session I had taken five years ago, and when I mentioned that most of us had already taken this course and asked about a next step in the ELL courses, I was told everyone takes this one. That’s it. No differentiation, but plenty of repetition. I missed an entire day of teaching to repeat a class.
While I know I have changed some of my personal habits and approaches, I don’t see the entire staff improving as whole because of our lack of a united focus. We are not united in our efforts to improve student capacity and teacher effectiveness.
I look forward to the district and individual building leaders identifying a focused approach.