How to PD

You’re sitting in a room with the rest of your building co-workers. It’s a workshop day, you’ve been talking about the mysteries of tracking student math data to meet state standards for the past hour. What’s next after you finish this topic? Writing standards! Yay!……..

You’re bored aren’t you?

I knew it.

Don’t hide it, you’re a music teacher learning about math. It’s ok to admit that you probably won’t ever use this information in your teaching and could benefit from something completely different. It’s common for arts teachers to get stuck in professional development workshops that will never assist them in their daily teaching practices. You have different needs than the normal classroom teacher. What you might not realize is that many administrators are open to alternatives, you just need to know how to ask. They will probably oppose a proposal of “sitting in your classroom lesson planning” so plan something structured.

Try some ideas like these:

Getting the group together– It could be your district colleagues or other colleagues from the area. Find a place to talk shop, maybe have a genius hour, have everyone bring instruments and try out a few new pieces together, build manipulatives for activities, you could even plan a large collaborative project you could all do together!

Virtual discussion– If you can’t get together in person, then do so online. Using a venue like Google Hangouts where there can be 10 people speaking at the same time can make things go very smoothly. You can collaborate on resource documents, talk shop and connect with your peers.

Presenter– Bring in an expert to speak. There are a whole slew of presenters out there who can come to your district to speak to your group. From Orff and Kodály experts to technology gurus who can be brought in for the day for a small price. Most administrators are use to paying a few thousand dollars to bring in a speaker for a district PD day. Ask politely and provide sound reasoning for why you would like the presenter to come.

Webinar– There are thousands of webinars available to watch during a PD day. Some may be live and some may be pre recorded. Most will be technology webinars, but in today’s digital age, a lot will be useful to your daily teaching. Most webinars will have some sort of questionnaire at the end so you can receive a PD certificate to put in for hours.

Going to a workshop– This might be a little more difficult to schedule depending on the area you are in. Lots of local education centers offer professional development workshops and educator get togethers. You might get lucky and find a conference on that day you could attend too!

PD is important part of growing as a professional. How you do it is up to you, you can make it boring or you can make it useful and exciting!

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