Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Importance of Professional Development

A lot of teachers and their downtrodden ATR counterparts are complaining mightily about Monday PD. Professional development, in my opinion, is invaluable if done correctly. Years ago, I learned how to use new technologies, facilitate peer mediations and teach in whatever style was mandated at that time. As an ATR, I am not being taught how to use any technology, new methods of teaching or anything useful. Many ATRs simply don't know how to do many things that regularly appointed teachers know, yet it is assumed that they do. If ATRs are ever to be placed, they need targeted PD to get them up to par. Sitting in a PD that is targeted to the staff of a school (that we are in temporarily) is not an optimum use of our time.

As for regularly appointed teachers most do not want it added on to instruction time. Last year I was in a school that had 2 hour periods for 9th graders. The place was like a zoo and the teachers were completely frazzled. Most schools had 1 hour periods, also too long for the average high school student. Some teachers would like to see small group tutoring, but many would not. They are exhausted at the end of the day.

I believe ATRs should have a full day of targeted PD a month. Some topics could be how to use a Smart Board, keeping electronic data, using data to design curriculum and instruction, etc.

Teachers should meet collectively to determine and vote on how best to use the time. What's completely obvious with PD is that one size does not fit all.

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