Professional Learning is getting a bad rap…

Most PL I have attended is sit and get unfortunately. But being on the other side of the professional learning desk as the one slated to implement the pages and pages of State required training (bloodborne pathogens, copyright laws, diabetes overview, sexual harassment, educator code of ethics, teen dating violence, anaphylaxis) and that does not include anything truly instructional yet either, it is not an easy task! No matter how hard I strive to make the required learning entertaining, there is just so much you can do to liven up ADA compliance!! I love that my teachers ENJOY my PL – but I believe they enjoy that I try and make it entertaining for them because I want my learners to be engaged and involved. It is not always successful and typically no matter what lengths I go to, there are always several teachers that are checked out before they even walk into my room!

I honestly believe that the broken education system does not lend itself to be the best version of PL that it can be. Texas Education Agency wants a checklist that every employee heard the following information before students walk through the doors every August – there is nothing that I sign off on that the learners understand, were awake or gained any knowledge from the professional learning though. Now this is mainly compliance topics but you mix that with the instructional learning that is so desperately needed and those few days of prep in August are just never enough. Then we spend our remaining school days running around trying to keep up with more changes, more learning, more requirements so it is an endless cycle of insanity! Professional learning has gotten a bad rap because of it. I believe that can change though with ongoing support for teachers, learning communities and avenues for teachers to connect based on their specific needs at the time. This sit and get before day 1 of instruction is not ideal and is not modeling the type of learning that we expect/demand/wish from our students. If I am allowed some creativity on the platform used, the content delivery, the situational learning that can be tailored to specific learners – the anaphylaxis training would look completely different if our coaches or athletic trainers could facilitate it? Again, let me emphasize that I am not intending to make excuses…just to point out that the overwhelming and time sensitive PL mandates for teachers makes it that much harder to squeeze in effective, engaging and fun professional learning opportunities. I feel that in my experience, teachers understand that some PL is just plain required and are accepting that we do our best. However, I do look forward to brainstorming and thinking outside the box to make ALL PL here at my district unique, creative, and consistent with ongoing support for my teachers. I care about my learners and want PL to be something that is looked forward to and not dreaded!

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