Saturday, August 17, 2013

If Teachers Planned Inservice: Another Perspective

If you're in education, I'm sure you've seen the posts called something like "If Teachers Planned Inservice." The implication is that inservice is always boring (which it often is) and that if teachers did it, it would be either 1. nonexistent or 2. less boring. As a person who plans inservice as part of my job, I hope that what I have planned for you is 1. not boring and 2. useful to you. In fact, that's my number one and number two hope for every session I provide.

My question for you though is this: If you are a teacher, you provide a form of "inservice" every day in your classroom. Do you have the same standards for your teaching as you have for mine? I teach you only a few days a year; you teach your students about 185 days a year. How do you maintain the level of interest and relevancy that you expect from me? I'll grant you that's incredibly difficult, but it is worth pondering.

What I want you to know is that I (and many, many others) worked really hard to provide the inservice we will offer to you in the next two weeks. I will be offering sessions during back to school events in three districts and traveling about 800 miles. I'll sleep in hotel rooms some of those nights so that I can be there up to 2 hours before you. I'll stay up late many nights before that planning and tweaking to make sure there is something new that's just for you. I'll do my best to make sure you always have access to a technology device so that you can participate constantly but not so you can check Facebook.

So, I have something to ask you. If I do all this for you, will you do a few things for me?

1. Come to my session with an open mind and a positive attitude.
2. When I ask you a question, nod your head or verbally answer.
3. Make eye contact with me.
4. Don't sit in the back so you can catch up with your friend during my session.
5. Give me a chance to be a resource to help you be more relevant to your students.
6. Judge the inservice I provide by the standards you want used to judge you in your classroom.
7. Volunteer to help plan and provide inservice so that we can make it the best it can be together. (Thank you to my volunteer helper for next week!)
8. Don't knit or crochet during inservice. (Yes, that really happened.)

The truth is, I don't think we'll have ANY problems with ANY of the above next week because you seem to like the inservice I provide. I'm so glad you do! I love providing it for you and I'm honored to work for your district. You are always kind and welcoming to me, and I know you wouldn't really rather have a root canal than attend one of my sessions. BUT, I need you too. Look at me, talk to me, answer my questions, and tell me when you don't understand. Thanks you guys! I'm looking forward to seeing you next week!


Sandy Kendell said...

Amy, thank you for sharing these thoughts. I have been very fortunate so far this summer to hear overwhelmingly positive feedback from colleagues in my district regarding the mobile learning inservices we've been providing. But I've felt the sting of disrespect from colleagues in the past.

I love your thought - "Judge me by the same standards you want to be judged by in your classroom."

I have had a similar post brewing in my head for a while. You may have just inspired me to get that one out there!

Happy Inservicing!! :-)

Amy Mayer said...

I can't wait to hear your thoughts! Thank you for replying, Sandy. I know you're listening now!

Unknown said...

Amy, While I agree that teachers should come ready to learn and participate, it is my job as a presenter to make all of those things happen. You will make eye contact because I am engaging and have proximity. You will not crochet because I will be interesting, funny, and I will call you out. You can crochet in my session if you are listening. If you sit at the back of the room then I will come to you. (I have actually moved the flip charts to the back and flipped the room).

I get paid to present my ideas and I make the ideas relevant and the presentation engaging. You can come to my workshop with whatever attitude you want, I will move your mind to where I want it to go. Not because I am magic or so powerful but because I put the work in. I am not worried about how they judge me it is my job to leave them with the best impression (and wanting to know more). Best of luck, but go in as a conqueror. You only get respect as a teacher or presenter if you have the best interest of the participants and take their good and bad behavior into account.

Amy Mayer said...

Oh, Mike, I wholeheartedly agree. Staff Developers like you and me have to do our part, and I definitely do my VERY best to do mine.

And I also agree that I will make sure participants are participatory with proximity and any other method available. HOWEVER, I want my kids' teachers to do the same for them and to make the connection between their behavior in "boring" sessions and their students' behaviors in "boring" classrooms.

Thanks for your response and for reading!

Anonymous said...

I love it! Can I use it?

Unknown said...

@P Cadwalder Yes, yes, YES! Please do. Glad you like it. Miss ya Pam. We need to get together soon.