Free, Differentiated Professional Development

"Professional Development", aka PD, is an ongoing and required part of the teacher's year. Some PD is better than others. At our school, the Grassroots Technology Group, a volunteer group of teachers who share ideas on how to use Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, offered to share their experiences with their colleagues, and help them learn one new tool, as one of the PD workshops. We helped to guide the teachers to technologies that would fit their skill base, and thus offered differentiated instruction to our fellow teachers. The workshop options were: Delicious, Netvibes, Using Cell Phones, Photostory, Jing, Smartboards, and Glogster.

This was the second of a pair of workshops (see Dec. post). The first one provided an introduction to the tech. tools and thissecond one was to provide teachers with time to create something using the tool. It was teachers teaching teachers and was at no cost to the district.The rudeness of many of our colleagues was distressing. Teachers skipped the workshop, complained about having to go, complained about being required to participate, complained about being required to learn a new technology, went to the workshop and did nothing, returned to present to their departments with nothing prepared, and were generally very rude. This is not to say all of the teachers behaved like this, just enough to make it really unpleasant. As a group, the Grassroots Technology Group was made to feel like "the man" telling others what to do when in actuality we thought we were providing something more useful than the usual PD. As a group, the teachers who had run the workshops debriefed with each other and as a result we are considering not offering to provide this service again.

I wonder why the teachers showed such disrespect. In their classrooms, teachers do not tolerate their students doing the things that they did to their colleagues. Can you imagine a teacher allowing a student to do other work in class? Yet they think nothing of doing it when they take a class. I have many ideas, but would love to hear yours.


Steve said...

Teachers often make the worst students. I too have seen my colleagues talk over the presenter and conduct themselves in a way that they would never put up with in their own classroom. Why do they do it? For the same reason some students do it . . . no one calls them on it. We had a principal who would stare down a talker at a faculty meeting until they got the message. The other reason - there are those who are feeling put upon by all of the technology all at once and their only coping skill is to shrug it off as unnecessary.

Reflections of a Science Teacher said...

I agree. I'm trying to think of a positive statement to address this at our faculty meeting.

Mary said...

As a district staff developer, I would welcome you and your colleagues with open arms. I can't say that all of our staff members would feel the same way, though. I have found many teachers who resist learning new things. I attribute that to fear on the part of some, arrogance for others and just bad manners. I hope it helps to know that others understand how you feel and that you won't let this experience keep you from sharing your talents with other educators. There are many who appreciate your efforts.

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