Professional Development

I have to confess.  I am a bit upset.  Why is it that I have been teaching for 13 years and have yet to encounter a professional development session that wasn’t an utter waste of my time?  Why is it that the majority of  educational conversations focus on what kids can’t do and how we can’t change the way we do business because, well, “that’s just how we do it here?”  If Jack Johnson were a teacher he’d sing “Where’d all the good conversations go?”  Why is it that when someone sets foot in another teacher’s classroom it is assumed that the visitor is looked at as an intruder?  Why did it take me so long to find teachers who are asking really tough questions-really good questions?  Why wasn’t I looking? Why wasn’t I asking them myself?

I have tried to teach my students that the answer isn’t the point.  It is all about the question.  The beauty of it is that the more questions I find answers to, the more questions I have.  A few months ago I stumbled across Classroom 2.0 and asked a question about dealing with gifted kids.  It wasn’t long before I was in the middle of a conversation with Nancy Bosch about how to deal with gifted students that she says, “Hey there is a guy named Dan who is asking some pretty good questions.  You are both math guys; check him out.”  So I do and realize that we are practically neighbors. (Okay, we both live in CA but Nancy is in Kansas.) So now I realize that all of those good conversations? All the good questions? Yeah, they are right here.  Right Now!  And I don’t have to sit in a 3 hour meeting to join them. 

So again I ask:  Why have I had more professional development in the past 4 months than in the previous 13 years?  Was I not listening?  Or was no one showing me where to listen?

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