As I publish this blog post, I'm getting ready to start Day 2 of professional development SMART Board workshops with various educators in Lethbridge School District 51. I want to take this time to thank those who attended the 2 sessions yesterday! I love getting to work with energetic teachers who are making a conscious effort to continually integrate new technology into their classrooms. I look forward to a 2nd day of fun and creativity! =)
Having led a number of technology-focused pd workshops with well over 1000 teachers these past few months, I've been thinking more and more about the time crunch that teachers face. Personally, the teaching lifestyle of constantly being in "teacher mode" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is one of the main reasons that I chose to leave the classroom. I can cite a million different examples of the constant time crunch that I experienced: prepping in my classroom until 8:00 pm (in the semesters where I didn't have a work-day embedded prep), sending email newsletters to parents at 2:00 am, learning to hold my bladder for 8 hours on end because lunch 'hours' don't really exist, entering report card comments at my parents' house during a twice-yearly visit, never watching an SNL/Rick Mercer?Royal Canadian Air Farce skit with wondering "how could I integrate this into our Current Events discussion?", marking essays on the beach in Mexico...the list could go on and on.
I know, I'm preaching to the choir.
So now that I'm on the other side of education, and experiencing what apparently constitutes a 'normal' lifestyle for 95% of the world (who knew how much housework you could get done on a Saturday when you don't have a volleyball tournament?!?!), I continue to marvel at the staying power of teachers. The educactors that I get to hang out with everyday not only manage to 'get through' the nromal items on their inevitable to-do list, but they actually seek out workshops to improve their understanding of technology. And believe me, this is no easy task in itself.
For those with limited knowledge of the classroom teacher lifestyle truly can't appreciate the time it takes to:
- write sub plans with extra notes (is my guest teacher going to have a solid understanding of the economic system in Sweden/ideology behind the Marshall Plan/correlation between ultranationalism and genocide?)
- plan a fun, engaging lesson that has a Plan B in case:
A.) the sub gets through the material too quickly
B.) my precious angelic students decide to light fires at the back of the room
- provide copies of material to hand out to students who may reappear on that exact day after a 10-day absence (murphy's law)
- give the sub some clue as to the 'normal' structure of events/expectations/discipline in my class
- leave a cheat sheet for use of any technology (computer/projector/SMART Board/DVD player, doc cam,videconference suite) because as a 21st century teacher, I'ver wholeheartedly embraced a wealth of technologies (which as now come back to bite me when I have to write out manuals for each device)
- clean my desk so that I won't be potentially judged as a disorganized, cluttered teacher!
No wonder teachers choose to go in to school when they're sick! Sometimes, it's just easier to do things yourself...
The preparation that goes into handing over the reins of your classroom to someone else is astounding and just goes to show how much teachers really value pd to submit themselves to this extra work.
So I pose this question to you (if you're still reading this drawn-out post): Where do YOU find the time to professional development? Leave your ideas in the comments section to help support other members of your PLN solve this age-old problem.
And once again to those from Lethbridge School District 51, thanks for not judging me with my recently invented fashion statement. A shout out to Rik Jesse who demonstrated his handyman skills with duct tape!
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