Sunday, February 24, 2008

Work Time

The ScienceGoddess always has insightful thoughts in her postings at What It's Like on the Inside. Her recent post, Rubber and Road, has me thinking about the way that we teachers utilize the time given to us.
When I taught in the same state as the SG, Washington, the district I worked for had a monthly teacher work day. Some of these days were self-directed, meaning that the individual teacher could mange his time in whatever fashing he felt benefited his teaching. Did we always focus on planning, grading, or collaborating? No. But I did feel that the days had value.
Some of the monthly teacher work days were District directed, meaning we attended some sort of professional development or District informational session. Rarely did I find this time valuable. I hate when these presentations try to turn us into a high school classroom, full of modelling teacher behaviors. I hate it mostly because we can't act like actual high school students!
Here in Connecticut, we have a half-day every other week. There are no teacher work days, and the time allotted on these half-days are filled with professional development sessions. They are pointless. I haven't learned anything new, and I haven't collaborated in the right ways with my peers.
And that is at the heart of my problem with "in-service" days. If our adminstrators made them useful, I wouldn't have a problem attending. If we really knew how to work together for the good of our students, these days could have value. But, too many teachers are entrenched in the antiquated methods of the past. Too many teachers don't know how to work well with others.

To be honest, if we were treated more like professionals, I would be happy. But, more teachers need to treat teaching as a profession as well.


At 8:05 PM , Blogger The Science Goddess said...

Well spoken!

At 9:03 PM , Blogger Dan Edwards said...

I am starting to wonder, if teachers are not regarded as "scholars", but as "artisans" ? Seems that folks who got elected or gots a bigger piece of paper from some university know best how to tell us to do our trade........

Note: I've been teaching Ancient China to my students, and according to Confucian philosophy of the value to society of a group, Scholars were first, followed by farmers, artisans, merchants and then everyone else. We who toil in the large cubicles call "classrooms" are not on the top of the heap.....

At 8:03 PM , Blogger Erica J. Ringelspaugh said...

I agree with your assessement of educational professional development seen in many schools. My school, in Central Wisconsin, has waiver days similiar to your first school. Half the day is district directed. Half the day is department or teacher directed. We do have to make a goal or form a study group for that self-directed time, but after that we are free to colloborate with anyone we want. I find that time so much more useful, as I'm learning and applying information relevant to me, my classroom, and my students.
I do like it when the district attempts to teach us the way they expect us to teach. I think it shows respect and and understanding of what they expect from us.

At 5:52 PM , Blogger Joe said...

I spent 25 years angry about professional development until I encountered teachers who were involved with the National Writing Project. I hope the rest of you will be so lucky someday. They value your voice and experience, they treat you with respect and they offer strategies that can be adapted to your needs the very next day.

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