It is a common trope among teachers that the beginning of the school year meetings, trainings, reviews, meetings, catered lunches, meetings, and drinking games are all just a waste of our time and more than a little bit ridiculous. Of course all professionals complain about meetings and meeting to set up meetings and meetings about the meeting you just had, but perhaps no professional class whines about it as much as teachers. After all, we’re the special class of professionals; we’re the professionals that train future professionals! Surely we are above such petty concerns!
The problem with this thinking is that it ignores a basic fact. That teachers are people and all people occasionally need reminding of best practices, exposed to the latest innovations, perhaps even cajoled into trying something new.
Allow me to give you a few examples just from these last several days.
- Keys to Literacy – This this day-long lecture I was instructed on the teaching techniques that I’ve been using consistently for 10 years. In seriousness, there were several good points about technique that will likely prove useful. Those took roughly 2 hours to explain and experiment with. The rest of the day was spent clarifying (contradicting) decades of professional development with no evidence to support their assertions.
- Epi Pen/CPR – Nothing much has changed regarding these practices since I first learned them as a Boy Scout. EXCEPT that now we learn that the Great State of NC is requiring Epi Pen training every year, because jabbing an automatic dispenser into the outside meat of the thigh is an extremely complicated procedure and we can never be too prepared.
- Differentiation – In this session, we were offered a content driven lecture about how our classes need to be more student driven.
So as you can see, our meetings might not be included in our ideal workday schedule, but they are useful and productive expenditures of our time. We are all now more effective educators and better human beings for having had them. Perhaps even one day you’ll become so enlightened that we can conduct these sessions ourselves!