I am a brat. I want to start this with that. I get frustrated quickly with adults and I find the opinions of the people I care about the most the most annoying. It’s mostly when I know that they are right but I am too and it’s to hard to verbalize that.
Today I had an argument with my best friend. He would call it a disagreement. Mostly because he doesn’t care as much as I do and he is happy being right with himself whereas I want him to also understand that I am right. He teaches math in Texas and does a fabulous job (as test scores and a 10,000 bonus might show). He works hard and has a new baby that is super rad. He might have some type of time manipulator like Hermione Granger.
Today’s argument was this: Do you miss class for Professional Development?
I had smartboard training today. I got one installed in my classroom and I have been pretty much using it as a “clean” whiteboard. This training was great and I learned a ton. I think that my lessons will be clearer and more engaging.
Our conversation (wherein I come off as a brat):
me: training wooo!
bff (I’m gonna refer to him as this cause it’ll annoy him): What training?
bff:psh, you’re missing class cuz of that?
me: Yes I have have an expensive piece of equipment with amazing stuff I should know how to use it
bff: Mess with it yourself… just start click stuff. that’s what I did with my board.
me: But this is faster. I learn it all now.
bff: And your kids lose a day of learning
me: (this is the part where I am a brat) Oh god end of the world. cue the violins. I learned how to write equations translate them in to text and solve.
bff: haha forgive me if I don’t believe in throw away days…
me: I don’t think this is a throw away. I think this is important. I think that learning about this going to make my lessons more engaging. It’s not that everyday is in the classroom is important (opps typo) it’s just that I have a lot to learn and that will make me a better teacher.
bff: I definitely agree for me I see it as something I could do on my own rather than take a day out.
The argument continued like that. The thing is BFF is right, missing a day really hurts the kids. The thing is so am I and we need to learn more and we cannot be expected to do all of it in our free time.
So I pose this question to you: How important is class-time v.s. PD? When do miss? How do you know ahead of time if it will be worth it?
(there was going to be another argument I’ve been having but it hits to close to home and I have not verbalized it well enough yet. so soon.)
6 thoughts on “An argument or two.”
I disagree with your bff – missing class time doesn’t REALLY hurt the kids. You’re just not that important 😉 (unless of course you have nothing but incompetent subs, and well then it’s just really frustrating).
Any PD that I’m engaged in helps my kids. Especially PD that can show me instantly – like your smartboard training – how I can change something tomorrow to benefit learning. I don’t believe in technology for technology’s sake, and that’s what a poorly used smartboard is.
As for “figuring it out yourself” ugh. I don’t have that kind of time in my life. It would likely take me a year (or longer) to figure out what the smartboard folks can just show me because I’m selfish and I like to have a mini life. I am not Hermione (oh but I SO wish I was! Crazy hair and all!) I think when I started teaching I might have felt bad about being selfish, but I really like my husband and my sanity.
I get what Ryan is saying, and also, it seems like it plays in to the common mentality among those of us who do mission-driven work (ie work we do because we care about contributing to something larger than ourselves) of prioritizing everyone else’s needs over ours. And that? Not sustainable.
Yes, every lesson matters. And yes, missing a day of class means that your kids probably won’t be receiving teaching at the same level and quality – but if even half of the classes you teach for the rest of the year are more effective for a handful of students, because you invested in your own skills as a teacher, it seems to me that it’s worth it. Because one day of class missed means an investment in years of students.
Plus, I think it needs to be okay to cultivate an expectation and culture in which you are not required to invest in yourself outside of the classroom. That’s already a full time job. In any other comparable job, it is reasonable to expect that professional development time be considered work time. It is a time investment in making you more effective. That’s worth work hours.
When your bff is out (for whatever reason) is it a wasted day for the kids. I agree with Jo that they may not be receiving the same level of instruction BUT it doesn’t mean they have to watch ‘Finding Nemo’!
Writing sub plans is an art and one worth developing for all teachers. If your kids just do math for a whole period – no instruction, no interruption – that may be valuable.
And Professional Development,especially something that you can use the next day, is priceless.
Life is a balancing act, try to stay on the high wire.
Obviously I’m biased here but I’m on your side. If you can learn something quickly and well, it’s not a waste. Otherwise, you’d be out “playing around” with your smartboard instead of planning lessons or whatever. Time is not infinite.
Also, I like to think that if my students need me to be there every day for them to learn something, I’m not doing my job. I’m trying to make my presence irrelevant. Realistically, I know I’m not there yet, but it’s a goal.
I’m biased like Jason but I agree with you. Obviously a training has to be really valuable to be worth missing class, but it sounds like everything you learned about your smartboard is going to improve all of your lessons from here on out – totally worth it! And you’re the best judge of the cost/benefit analysis – it’s your training, they’re your classes. Don’t let anyone tell you different.