Friday, April 11, 2008

Professional development day

Today is one of my least favorite days of the school year--a day with no students. It's the end of the third quarter, grades are in, so we'll have a day of meetings, listening to colleagues bitching and doing nothing. The principal will try to get us to do something productive, but we won't.

I wonder, are there schools and/or districts that accomplish anything meaningful on professional development days?

Anyway ... I'll try to keep a positive attitude. I'll try to take good notes. Stop by this afternoon for an update. I promise it'll be either very funny or a total waste of time. (Hey, just like this blog on any given day!)

8 comments:

SKO said...

I doubt it.

There are 2 things I loved about PDDs:

1) NO SCHOOL!, obviously (just pouring salt on your wound, huh?)
2) wasting half of class the next day, listening to the cool/competent teachers' stories about other people's incompetence, typical school bureaucratic idiocy, and other general frustrating uselessness (pretty much what you just described). laughing alleviated the frustration somewhat.

A said...

I love being the cadre because I DON'T have to be there for PD (although I'd prefer to have a full-time teaching gig). When I did my student teaching and HAD to be there for PD, all the teachers did was bitch and waste time. I never saw anything productive being done on those days. I think that's the norm at most schools.

Only a few more hours left!

Mr J said...

The faculty meeting portion of our PD day was actually semi-encouraging. In an effort to stem the tide of increasing disrespect, cuts, tardies, and ID-less hall-walkers, teachers have been given the ability to issue detentions ourselves, bypassing the discipline office. Finally some real ammunition!

And more "tough love": next year's upper-class open campus lunch privileges will be suspended on a quarter-by-quarter basis if a student has ANY tardies, cuts, or unexcused absences. This monitoring begins next week. Then when asked if we can fully count on administration support when the inevitable tardy gets recorded on IMPACT, the principal gives us back-pedaling and "certain cases" talk. So much for consistency and credibility. If there's anything that incompetent administrators fear more than chaotic, hard-to-control teens, it's that those same teens won't like them.

*sigh* So yeah, SEMI-encouraging...

appopt said...

I'm not sure I'd want teachers to have the authority to issue detentions. We have many in the building that write up the most minor infractions--chewing gum, swearing in the hallway, whatever. And I'm curious, what is detention? We've got this thing called in-school suspension, which is a room where kids sit all day watching crappy TV shows.

Mr J said...

Our current problem with write-ups is that the understaffed discipline office can't seem to keep up with the paperwork aspects. When kids eventually get the detention for whatever infraction, it's sometimes three weeks past said infraction, which is useless (kids forget what they were written up for, they don't understand why they have to serve detention, and they may have already repeated the infraction several times before they're punished for the first offense.)

I see your point about teachers who are overzealous to issue detentions -- part of the bureaucratic hold-up is too many teachers writing up for lesser "offenses."

With this new system, kids will report to the auditorium (or wherever) on the day they're assigned detention; they must have their copy of the detention form signed and stamped and they must return it to the issuing teacher after serving the detention. It's the issuing teacher's responsibility to follow up on detentions they've issued, thus relieving some of the burden from the discipline office. Implicit with this new policy is that the discipline office will no longer be dealing with gum-chewers or hallway swearers. If teachers want students to get detention for such offenses, the students will -- but those teachers must play a part in helping see that the consequences are met.

It'll be an interesting experiment, to say the least...

Bill said...

Two staff members got in a fist fight today. That's a new one.

homebase said...

A fist fight between staff members would be worth attending a professional development day. After 28 years of teaching I can not recall over 1 or 2 days that I could say were worthwhile.

appopt said...

Something that just struck me about the new system at mr. j's school: Don't you just love it when new procedures are introduced IN THE FOURTH QUARTER? Because of this, it'll probably fail. My school is guilty of the same thing. At our PD, we were told how to deal with cell phones. And I thought, NOW?? It's been a problem all year. Anyway, these kinds of ideas need to be implemented at the start of the school year.

As for bill's comment, wow, a fist fight would be a first. But it sure would make the day memorable.