"Well, this doesn't really apply to you..."

As an elective teacher, I'm tired of going to required PD and hearing this sentence.

Photo of Erik Ohlson
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As an electives teacher I'm expected to attend many meetings and presentations that have little relation to my classes, then just "make it work" for my subject. The Arts are continuously left out of large-scale professional development and are often instead asked to attend courses or trainings that have little bearing on our class, or meet all together and discuss our very different disciplines and teaching methods. There is always some level of us trying to fit into a box and while discussion of strategies across disciplines is helpful, it can't be the only strategy. We need access to professional development created by professionals in our disciplines, or options to meet with other teachers in our districts and county to compare our methods. Time with teachers of our courses is often more valuable than time spent adjusting lessons and ideas to fit our classes and it never happens when we need it to.

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Photo of Moss Pike

Excellent points, Erik, and as a language teacher myself, I too have felt "left out" from many of the content-based discussions we've had. I'm a fan of Walt's idea below on creating content-specific time for teachers and think it blends well with your idea. How might we design a system that gives teachers an opportunity for discussions in our particular content areas? How might we encourage teachers in these content areas to create more professional growth programs for each other? These are some important questions I hope we can work on over the coming weeks by prototyping a solution to the ideas you've shared!

https://teachersguild.org/challenge/how-might-we-reimagine-professional-learning-so-that-we-continue-to-grow-feel-inspired-and-have-impact-in-the-lives-of-our-students/research/content-specific-together-time

Photo of John Faig

This is the downside of "specials" like art, PE, foreign language, etc. Teachers relish the time away from their students and it furthers the isolation that many teachers feel. There is hope. We have seen lots of natural integration between art, science, and math.

Photo of Laurie

Erik, this is so true. In trying to appeal to everyone in the school, so much PD helps no one.
Where do you teach?

Photo of Erik Ohlson

I teach at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa.

Photo of Sarah Lundy

Amen, Erik! As frustrated as I've been with PD as a teacher of a required content area, I can only imagine how pointless it would feel to be required to learn what "doesn't really apply to you".

Photo of Dan Blake

This is the equivalent of "seat time" for students. It's unfortunate that rather than provide you the autonomy to seek out meaningful professional development opportunities, you are simply asked/told to participate in irrelevant PD and then somehow make it "fit" your needs.