I know that as a teacher, I was a professional development committee chair for 3 years, and on pro D days, I never worked harder! Preparing workshops and forums for discussion among colleagues, collecting and sharing articles on educational pedagogy/best practice and facilitating adult conversation in meaningful and effective ways, are all things that I remember working at (and still do!).
In every profession, there are growth models and opportunities designed for team building and professional development. Teachers are one of the professional groups that I think is incredibly deserving of this time--there is so much that changes with our curriculum and the way we deliver it--we must spend time examining how we teach and why we teach what we do. In some cities and countries, curriculum is largely prescribed, right down to 'read this sentence to the students on day 5 of unit 2', or something similar. In BC, our teachers are empowered to learn the curriculum and design it for individual students to understand and stretch towards... a task that requires great amounts of personal, professional development. And, as an administrator, I am required to document my own professional growth plans and describe my effort to meet those goals throughout the school year. I find this a full-filling and important aspect of my role.
Here is a 'did you know?' section on professional development, from the perspective of being on staff at Nootka:
Did You Know?
All About Professional Development @ Nootka…
· Professional Development is a cornerstone of teaching. Educators are life- long learners and the time given for collaboration and professional dialogue is imperative.
· Teachers contractually have 6 days each school year for professional development; one of the days is planned by administrators and focuses on school goals.
· Last year, Nootka staff participated in:
-exploring the new curriculum for use in their classrooms: https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca
-investigating the ‘healthy living curriculum’ and Project Chef teaching materials
-attending conferences in various PSA (Provincial Specialist Association) areas (i.e. math, social studies, dance, etc.)
-hearing from educational and Aboriginal leaders at conferences and via webcasts
-collaborating with other educators for best practice and new instructional strategies
-professional dialogue and conferences on formative assessment and inquiry-based learning
· Every October, BC teachers have a “Provincial Professional Day” when they can attend conferences in any curricular area. This year, this PSA pro-D is Friday, October 24.
· The Nootka Pro D committee selected Monday, October 27, 2014 as the ‘make-up’ pro D Day. This is for the one missed in September because it seemed to be a logical choice based on other holidays and events (other than an option in May) and follows calendar suggestions in other schools. Our topic focus for Oct. 27 is self-regulation and social-emotional learning. This professional growth is most effective at the beginning of the school year.
Click here for an interview with Carol Dweck, author of Mindset:
This professional resource is great for anyone who is interested in the 'Growth' vs. 'Fixed' mindset and the benefits of teaching and living this way! Check it out.