Dive in!

For PD to be valuable, you need to dive in. PD is not something that happens to you; you need to engage in it to be valuable.

Photo of Valerie Swangren
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We need to be connected to the process of teaching, other teachers and to the students we teach.  PD provides us that opportunity.  

We should be engaging in collaboration with all our 'stakeholders' including teachers, parents, students, and community members and learn as much as we can from all of them.  We need to care about the stakeholders to develop instruction and teaching practices.  

If you are questioning your direction or impact, why not ask your students directly -- 'What makes a good teacher?' 'How do you like to learn new things?' etc.  We can take the answers to help us guide our own teaching, but also to determine how to create responsive PD, too.  

Collaboration might look like having a co-teacher or mentor that you check in with on a regular basis.  I know that we do that when we are beginning teachers, but I think it helps to 'run things by' someone you respect.  Collaborative tools and lessons or a short video or Skype at the end of the week  (or whatever timeframe works for you) could help keep you energized.  I know as a Librarian, I frequently feel like I'm on my own.  

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Photo of John

Agree that PD is not a spectator sport, but that is often the default. I find it ironic when I go to a session at a conference and the expert on "active learning" does a 60-minute presentation. One successful approach is to maximize the time together. Give teachers some online resources and videos and ask them to preview (or deeper) what you will actually be doing at a workshop. This way, some quick Q&A can be done before actually diving in!

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