Active and Social Choices

Professional Development could provide us opportunities to interact with colleagues in a social way that would allow for natural growth.

Photo of Jen Ortlinghaus
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My close friend who happens to be a former high school teacher, often travels for business meetings. As part of the trainings her company provides, she is required to do one or more of the social activities. For example, on one of the meeting days, all employees are required to sign up for things such as: attending a professional baseball or football game, touring the local shopping mall, tasting at a brewery, or a guided tour of an important monument or memorial.

These activities are team-building events that lend themselves to having conversations about what is going on in the workplace, and sharing ideas about how to improve current practices.

The cover photo I chose for this post is Petaluma City Schools teachers getting together for a footrace. During the car rides to and from the event, waiting at the start line, and at the finish celebration we shared all kinds of classroom management ideas, lessons for everyone teaching new grade levels, technology work-arounds, and general changes to our classrooms. I learned technology secrets that have already helped in my classroom. Nobody forced this upon us; however, getting together in a social setting allowed for school and education conversations to flow naturally.

We are in Sonoma County and could make a P.D. day like the corporate day I referred to above happen. Educators could sign up to: mountain bike at Annadel, hike at a regional park, paddle board or kayak at Lake Sonoma, play miniature golf at Scandia, go for a run, go whale watching, go bowling, and this list could continue for quite awhile. This sort of a day could be at a very low cost. And, if a school district felt compelled to have some "lecture time" the activities could be half of the day with the other half being "class time."

Did I mention that my dynamic and intelligent friend is no longer a teacher?


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Photo of Jessica Lura

I think that building a community is extremely important and agree that sometimes the informal "hanging out" conversations can lead to some great learning. Tied to your idea on having meetings and such in a nice place and PD could look quite different.

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