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bagano1 bagano1 is offline
 
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Out of Touch Professional Development "Experts"
Old 01-17-2020, 07:06 PM
 
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I'm doing things regular full-time teachers are doing and am forced to do these Professional Development days.

Not sure if anyone here has had to do this as a regular teacher, but why in the world do they pay these clowns to advise teachers? So many of them are out of touch with reality. This is my job day in and day out and I have to listen to someone with a Masters or PhD who is never in front of rough kids who don't want to be in school tell me how to run a classroom.

Their job is basically to rack their brains and come up with stupid activities in a sad attempt to supposedly improve test scores. They can't grasp that the real reason test scores are bad in certain areas is because the kids just don't want to be in school and don't care about getting educated. The goal with these people seems to be to dumb everything down and infantilize the students.

I've been looking up educational videos to show in class and you will see videos from India on every subject that students there will watch to get the best score they possibly can on their exams. They fulfill their end of the bargain. In America, somehow, it's the teacher's fault if their students don't produce the same results. We have to baby high school students, we have to dumb things down with childish activities, it's always our fault for everything.

I feel sorry for these "experts" sometimes. They paid thousands to go to school so they can get a job with an ISD or the state and lecture people who actually do this job on what they should do. .

Imagine if I went to school and the NFL paid me to lecture quarterbacks on how to do their job better. I wouldn't take myself seriously! I don't know how these people get away with it.


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Old 01-17-2020, 07:39 PM
 
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Presenters of most PD sessions I've attended have been teachers, teachers who moved into this new career, researchers, etc.

The worst PDs in my opinion are from textbook companies but otherwise I've had pretty good luck over the years.

Our district is huge and we do lots of in- house PD which is great.
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Tori58 Tori58 is offline
 
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Old 01-18-2020, 06:39 AM
 
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I haven't agreed with all the PD I've had through the years and, over time, it becomes apparent that some of it is the same idea tweaked, recycled and presented in a different way.

That being said, I've also gotten some extremely valuable training through PD days. Most of the "experts" I've encountered have been in the classroom. Sometimes they have been people who are still in the classroom. When they haven't been experienced educators, sometimes they've been people with some other type of expertise that's valuable to educators. One time we had Ron Glodoski - former Milwaukee gang leader turned motivational speaker. This was a precurser to having him come talk to our student body. One time we had a DOJ agent come and talk to us about the rural meth problem.

You need not feel sorry for your PD "experts." If they have made the leap into full time PD, they're most likely earning far more than teachers do which certainly justifies their decision to pursue higher education.

And can I just say that I rather have a problem with someone who disdains higher education being connected in any way to a school.
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MaineSub MaineSub is offline
 
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Some of the worst...
Old 01-18-2020, 06:41 AM
 
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There's that old saying (that most of us hate) "Those who can't do, teach." I've often wondered what those who can't teach are supposed to do...

When the opening slide of the presenter lists a bunch of degrees after the presenter's name, that's often a red flag. I'm not anti-education, obviously, but I would like to know what qualifies someone to teach. If he or she thinks it's those letters, we're probably going to have a problem. Some teachers think their assignment is to demonstrate how smart they are. Doesn't matter if the student benefits. And then it becomes a competition because the student sets out to prove he or she is smarter than the instructor.

But more to the point what becomes critical is what's being taught. Many skills can't be learned in a classroom. But strategies often can--even in sports.

Too often what's missing is mutual respect between the student and the teacher. I would love the instructor to announce, "I can't do what you guys do, but I can offer some ideas and strategies you can try." The student would answer, "Okay, maybe those ideas and strategies would be helpful and maybe I need to change my thinking and habits on some of this stuff."

I know. I live in my own little world. But everybody there likes me!
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:37 AM
 
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I was doing a long-term (1st grade) last fall and was required to attend weekly staff meetings that also sometimes involved some kind of training session. I also was in a 1st grade classroom when a SWUN trainer came to demo for the 1st grade teachers.

I always enjoy an opportunity to learn something new, especially if it will help me in my work. As a sub, I'm seldom offered training opportunities. So I was happy to attend the trainings. In each session, I did learn something useful. However, I'll also admit that the speakers were clearly out of touch with the day-to-day reality of classroom teaching. And the teachers knew it.

In one case, the speaker was a former 2nd grade teacher turned "trainer" who was offering a strategy for teaching reading to a class. Even though she was using "new" jargon, the concepts were very familiar to me (and the other teachers). Her audience was polite but unenthusiastic. I could see the speaker was uninspired and just going through the paces.

In another case, the trainer was the school's young, ambitious VP who was explaining the school's intervention program. It was clear that she wasn't a classroom teacher herself and lacked experience with dealing with negative behaviors in the actual classroom setting. The audience, again, consisted of the school's teachers. Her examples were pulled from a database and lacked the detail needed to make them relevant to the teachers. Again, the teachers were politely quiet, and asked polite questions. But there was that dull feeling of being disregarded as experienced teachers who are often told, but rarely consulted.

Yet another one was a PhD (he made that clear) trainer from SWUN (a math education company) who was attempting to demo a SWUN lesson with an actual 1st grade class at the school. Although the man knew his subject, he clearly was not comfortable teaching 6 and 7 year olds. He essentially ignored 3/4 of the children who were struggling while focusing on the few who "got it," and spotlighted them as proof of "success."

The 1st grade teachers sat in the back of the class barely listening (they were just happy to have a break), while I as the class sub was floating about trying to manage and assist all the kids who were floundering.

Despite this man's credentials, he clearly was not the right candidate to do a 1st grade teaching demo in a public school, and the teachers (including me) were not impressed. What good is a fancy teaching strategy when you're dealing with 25 restless 6 and 7-year-olds who can barely sit still for a minute, let alone focus?

I have a graduate degree myself. I don't regret the investment, but I don't boast it or use initials.
I long ago realized that many people try to bolster their ego by accumulating degrees and initials after their names. This has become so commonplace that it's a cliche. Who are they impressing?

In the end, real teaching is not about your credentials, how smart you are, or how much you know. I believe it's about helping others, even the slowest of the slow, learn how to learn. And I believe that capability is a gift.



Last edited by luv2teach2017; 01-18-2020 at 02:00 PM..
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Old 01-18-2020, 05:16 PM
 
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In America, expectations for the family and student are pretty low. I'm willing to bet that teachers are more respected in India. The responsibility falls on the student in India. The family works to help and support the student there. Often in the US and other countries, the teacher or school is to blame. I am barely chugging along in this career.
I am hoping to get at least 22 years in. I want to retire from it as soon as possible.
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Old 01-19-2020, 07:46 AM
 
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Since I'm no longer a regular teacher, I haven't had to do much professional development. Some of it is definitely useful, but there's a great deal that's a waste of time.

Several years ago, one of my districts wanted their subs to come in during the summer for a day of training. No, we didn't get paid. The trainer was a district administrator, a nice person, but out of touch with what was actually going on. She didn't seem to grasp the real challenges subs had to deal with every day in her district. Here are two things I remember: she suggested that subs buy pencils to pass out to students who need them. We also made a small project out of a paper bag.

From my regular teaching days, I remember staff workshops about writing better lesson plans. Yeah, right. Our district was struggling, administrators didn't want to deal with discipline issues, and higher-ups were coming in to teach us their fancy lesson plan models. I doubt they had to write these plans themselves. They honestly seemed to think that fancy lesson plans would make everything right.

There were some professional development sessions that seemed to have a lot of promise.
Back in the 90s, we had one on the subject of children born with fetal alcohol syndrome and children who were labeled as crack babies. The trainer came in to explain both problems in great deal. That was helpful. We then waited to hear possible solutions. It didn't happen. There were a few very general suggestions, but nothing that was very useful.

We also had some training sessions about dealing with classroom management. They were helpful, but for any of these plans to work, administration has to be part of it. A teacher can do A, B, and C, but sometimes very difficult students require more. If administration doesn't want to do their part, the whole plan crumbles. I saw this happen over and over again.

A teacher on one of these boards (I can't remember which one) complained recently that many trainers in professional development sessions spend a considerable amount of time explaining a problem. Perhaps they spent too much time. When it was time to start exploring solutions, the trainer says, "Yes, this is such an important subject that we'll need more time, perhaps several more sessions, to discuss solutions." That was my experience as well, and yes that's a problem with a lot of professional development that teachers have to sit through.
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Aillya Aillya is offline
 
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Old 01-21-2020, 11:11 AM
 
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As expected of a nation whose secretary of education has never once worked in a school with children. Problems from the top down. Hell, it's been this way even before she appeared, but it's never been more transparent than it is now. The people on top have no idea what it's like for the people they're supposed to be leading.

I have almost 0 respect for administrators in my district. Whenever they come around, it's to armchair-philosophize about things they have no practical experience dealing with. Whenever they try to force us to do some sort of training, they never pay us for our time and so I rarely bother doing it (exception was a web lecture on identifying abuse). No one's bugged me about it in years, and with the way it's done here, I'm thankful for that since I see it as a huge waste of time. Other districts will vary, of course. If yours does it well, then honestly, good for you. I wish mine did.

Last edited by Aillya; 01-21-2020 at 11:46 AM..
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bagano1 bagano1 is offline
 
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Old 01-21-2020, 04:07 PM
 
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I came from the Caribbean. We got corporal punishment in school. I despised it, was even afraid of it, but seeing the alternative in America, even at a private school, made me understand why it was done. Last I heard, the World Bank and IMF came in there to loan money to the government and started telling them to basically turn their schools into American schools. Now I am reading stories about violence against teachers in classrooms and how it's not safe to teach anymore.

I really wonder if the powers that be are just sabotaging everything for their own gain.
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