martes, julio 12, 2005


how to survive professional development

a guide for gustavo & other new teachers

1. do not show up early or on time. teachers are (ironically enough) notoriously late and will filter in an hour after the designated starting time. yes, it's rude to join the other jerks, but better that than wasting your time and watching people glide in with hot breakfast tacos. just let yourself sleep for an extra 15 minutes.

2. sit with friends.

3. if you have no friends and you find yourself sitting next to intolerably annoying teachers who like to ramble quietly to you about their children/students, smack their gum, painfully slowly yet loudly unwrap and eat butter candies, and/or talk to another teacher about their rich-ass school, move as soon as possible under the guise that you can't focus/see the powerpoint/stand another miserable second.

4. bring a book, preferably something thin that can be easily hidden within the dearth of binders, handouts, packets and materials you will inevitably be given. professional development = ridiculous amounts of paper thrown at you. it's a horrendous waste and is awfully ironic since schools are so fucking stingy with individual teacher copy counts. tomorrow i will be bringing josé emilio pacheco's las batallas en el desierto (for pleasure) and federico garcía lorca's canciones, poemas y romances para niños (for school year planning).

5. bring a drink/food that won't make much noise to unwrap and is good for snacking. better yet, bring something with a variety of flavors, like Skittles, so you can practice training your tastebuds to recognize distinct flavors on different parts of your tongue. makes the time fly by.

6. look up and make eye contact periodically, but don't worry about listening attentively. every single professional development held by my district (not my school, those have a whole different set of rules) involves a powerpoint presentation. the presentation slides are always printed out and given to us so that we can refer to them while the presenter reads them aloud to us verbatim. you're a teacher, so you're a college graduate, so CLEARLY you can READ. unless you're doing an activity or role-playing, you're probably not missing anything that isn't written down already.

7. do lesson plans.

8. do all the little things you never have time for... draft your class newsletter, cut out laminated stuff, write your grandma a thoughtful card...

9. doodle. this is what i usually end up doing... once people see me decorating a binder cover, they usually pass me a sheet of paper so i can do theirs, too. i'm earning quite a reputation in the bored teacher circuit.

10. make sure you look over the materials you're given and separate the stuff you can actually use. for example, i'm doing a reading training right now and 70% of the materials are in english. nixed 'em. everything bilingual has a lovely sticky-note tab labeled with perfect block letters. color-coded, of course. because i had a lot of freakin time on my hands!

a friend let me borrow las batallas en el desierto recently. i loved it.
those are hilarious AND true! Timing is everything - not too early, not too late. And once I sat at the wrong table (with a friend, but also a few other teachers I didn't know), and by the end of our 'activity', one woman had taken over everything and said we all had "OCD" for wanting to participate. Sigh.
You forgot to add "talk to your neighbor while the presentor is talking" and "don't turn the ringer off on your cell phone and answer it when it rings, and of course talk loudly". Teachers are without a doubt the rudest audience out there. I have a week on inservice coming up -not looking forward to it.
Teachers are the worst and I'm the ring leader! Isn't it awful to expect people who are used to running the show to sit and listen quietly? And all teachers fall neatly into one of two categories: Don't Care and Won't Participate or Participates So Much Everyone Hates You. The second batch are freaks. I love when they give you the basket full of different colors or sticky notes and highlighters and you go crazy just color coding everything you can get your hands on. I have a two day workshop next've just gotten me warmed up.
My calendar says July...what are you guys doing back at school already? When does your semester start?
thanks for the insight. I felt like a kid back in elementary wondering what it was that went on the faculty room. Muchas gracias!!
mommyprof, surely i've bitched a time or two about how we don't really have the summer off? it's professional development season! honestly, i think i'd rather be surrounded by 40 children than 40 cranky teachers.
Mommyprof's naivete shows through - I thought that's what the scheduled work days the week before school starts were for. You poor dears!
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