Here it is… year 3. New room, new teaching assignment, new grade level, new team… so I almost feel like calling this Year 1: The Sequel.
I’ve decided to changed the focus of this blog slightly. Instead of having people wade through my rants about my school district, I thought it might be more edifying to move beyond my own situation and join the discussion on technology, professional development, and shifting schools.
With some vacancies left by teachers who moved on to other districts and administrative positions, here I am in my third year as the co-chair of the Language Arts department. I’ve also taken a position on the school’s leadership team (working on our school improvement plan.) Taking all of those things into consideration, I’ve taken on quite a bit this year and I feel a renewed sense of interest in helping my school develop effective and worthwhile PD. After attending the NSDC conference in Orlando this summer I brought back some ideas for our staff, and the LA department in particular, to adopt.
For the first time many teachers are being asked to track what they’re doing in the classroom using actual data. We’re attempting to collect data on student learning through common assessments, action research, and regular pre- and post-assessments. While this can be done in a useful way, I’m afraid many of our teachers see it as busywork and they’re concerned about viewing students as numbers rather than human beings. To be honest, I’m so new at some of this that I don’t know what to do to allay their fears.
Many of them have been in this district for so long, they’ve seen initiatives come and go, and come back again. Many of them are disillusioned and suffering from “new initiative fatigue.” We bring in speakers who say the same things over and over, we’re doing things that were ended ten years ago because they “weren’t working…” I can understand their frustration. I suppose my goal with this blog is to engage others in conversation about motivating teachers and influencing administration to enact effective and worthwhile PD.
So… any suggestions?