PD – How do you define it?

Some people call PD, Professional Development.  Our best administrators struggle to make sure their teachers find something useful each time PD is provided.  We need PD to re-certify every few years.  These PD points are supposed to reflect the fact that we learned something new AND integrated it into our classrooms.  How many of us have gone to workshops, gotten the binder, filled out the required forms to get the points and did nothing else?  Isn’t that the “norm”?

Well, thanks to Twitter and the lovely #edchat hashtag, I have begun to rethink my definition of PD.  I now consider PD to be Personal Development.  I have found so much support through the weekly educational chats (#edchat) on Twitter.  I am now starting to share links to blogs, and sites of interest with my fellow teachers.  I have decided that I will only follow those people that could have a direct impact on ME (not my students, nor my classroom).

I’ve been blogging for a couple of months now.  I am inspired by the many people I have encountered on Twitter.  They seem to blog daily.  I don’t know how they do it.  But, I am in awe of their experiences.  I am using my PD time to enhance what I want to learn.  I am certain that it will impact every area of my life.  I think it already has.

I am trying to stay fresh.  I don’t ever want to be that teacher that everyone dreads because the lessons are the same ones he or she used 15 years ago.  We used to call them “Yellow Note” teachers because they had used the same notes for so long the paper had turned yellow from age.  Today, I am looking for the new techniques.  After all, if your doctor used the same techniques from 1950 wouldn’t you want to find another doctor?

I know how I learned algebra.  I love my Algebra teacher.  She retired just a couple of years ago.  I still use her Integer Poem in my classroom.  I have added an additional stanza to it.  I have my students practice it.  This year I had a student set it to music and share it with me.  It was a very short video, but that young man knows how to add positive and negative numbers.  Every so often, I hear the beat of his little video and I know he is working it out in his head, just keeping it fresh.

So, yes, PD is very important to me.  Yes, I still attend those workshops.  Yes, I still fill out the forms for the “points”.  The difference now is that I am doing so much more than just looking for workshops.  I am looking for me.

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