Monday, January 23, 2006

Getting Professionally Developed

In our junior high school, there are no classes being held today.

It's time for the teachers in our district here in California's "Imperial" Valley to undergo that annual ritual known to educators all over the country as "The Professional Growth Day."

Usually, this involves some well-paid talking head consultant who delivers a poorly-choreographed dog and pony show workshop to our assembled staff.

Sometimes, we get to play sophomoric "ice-breakers" that often involve balloons, felt-tipped markers, and butcher paper.

Even though us classroom teachers will be trapped for the entire day, the school's administrators will invariably breakup the tedium by escaping coming and going throughout the day on errands related to "school business."

For me, this year's all day mental torture session Professional Growth Day is going to be, well... different. I'm in possession of my own escapist device. While I'm sitting there bored out of my skull appearing to watch this year's huckster presenter perform the old soft shoe, in acutality, I'll be applying
this handy field guide to workshop attendees that was developed by Mr. AB over at From The T.F.A. Trenches.

I'll be trying very hard not to snicker at the staff-member that I've already christened (as per the field guide) "Eccentric Emily."

Update: (PM) Arrgh!! It was a verrrry long day indeed, but at least it's finally over. The presenter literally lectured to us for 5.5 hours. The subject of his presentation was the implementation of the school-wide discipline plan. There were no handouts, books, or any type of audio-visual material. Just lecture. And the taking of notes. Some folks took many notes, others less, and still others, none at all.

In response to teachers' questions about the material, our presenter used the phrase, "I'll get to that," no fewer than 24 times. In most cases, he never did.

Eccentric Emily asked our presenter at least 12 questions. (I didn't start counting until we were some two hours into the workshop.)

At least there were no ridiculous ice-breakers or other form of get-accquanted activity, though there was some role-play of actual classroom situations that may prove of some use, especially for our newer faculty members. Our guest speaker avoided this type of nonsense. And for that, I'm truly thankful.
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