Monday, February 22, 2010

Professional Development

As part of our professional obligations in the state of Michigan, we teachers have to take a certain number of "professional development" hours. Usually they are provided by the school district during professional development days and after school meetings. I don't do too well at these any more. I usually spend the day tuning out or drawing pictures. It's not that the presenters are bad (some are - some aren't) but as I've explained in previous posts, it's the same old crap repackaged - and repackaged - and repackaged.

During the last PD day, I took notes. Here they are:

I said over and over and over again, this meeting's going to be a drag.

By ignoring effective teaching strategies, we are subject to another useless workshop on a reading instructional technique that will make no difference in student achievement, and that will be replaced a few years down the road with the next latest and greatest reading program. It will be under the aegis of the next reading guru. It will have most of the same elements of Reading Workshop (the current latest and greatest - H.) because Reading Workshop has elements of previous programs. It will pay lip service to the phonetic component and it will make no difference at all.

We aged veterans will sit through these workshops wondering why those administrators in charge still buy into this madness. Why do they insist that THIS TIME things will be different. This time student achievement will skyrocket.

And a few years down the road, when we are still having staff meetings - the topic being "how can we increase flagging student achievement?" nobody will make the connection: same techniques, same refusal to begin at the beginning, same refusal to explicit phonics, same dismal results. We will find the holes in the method. They were obvious from the beginning.

New (?) technique - leveled books - but nobody asks if it wouldn't be more effective to give students the ability to figure out the majority of words.

Now we've been given a program that calls for a huge number of books, but we don't have the money.

Is this another example of more money being poorly spent?

Personally, I'd like to have thousands of books, but if we can't, a few excellent titles that teach reading and content would suffice.

Riggs - so much cheaper and more effective.

Colleges are teaching this stuff too. Must be on a carpet (another crutch?) for "turn and talk."

Constant talk of leveled books low enough in each class instead of - how do we improve skills? Oh yeah - guided reading. (a bit of sarcasm there - H.)

Conference on modifying the program. We have to modify it right out of the gate? Is this really what we want?

Stigma of reading groups now becomes stigma of leveled books.

After the meeting I unloaded on a co-worker. He's heard my rant before, and he was willing to spend a few minutes listening to m vent my frustration.

At least we didn't have to do anything on chart paper.

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At 1:31 AM, Blogger MightyMom said...

huh? what the hell is guided reading??

At 1:44 AM, Blogger MightyMom said...

you might want to move here...

just sayin'


At 9:36 AM, Blogger Mrs. C said...

I have found teaching my autistic children works best with BASAL readers and not so much phonics at all. BUT I do understand that most people learn best with a phonics approach. You would think that just letting the teacher be the professional would be the best approach of all. And teacher mentoring for new teachers who need a little help. Whyyy does it have to be so complicated?

BTW, I have nominated you for some blog awards. Please look for them on my blog in the next few days. :)

At 7:31 PM, Blogger Harry said...

I haven't been paying attention at the workshops so:

As for your link, now you tell me!

Mrs. C,
If teachers were trained as we should be, we could let teachers be professional. Now we have to add more crutches and band aids. Thanks for the award. I did visit and see it.


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