Monday, August 11, 2008

and our next slide

Today I went to Day 2 of becoming a mentor for my graduate teacher.....

I just want to say this: My god! There are some BORING presenters out there.

While I understand the difficulty in creating an exciting, interesting and creative programme for Primary, Secondary, Special Needs, Government, Independent and Catholic school teachers, BUT the presenters of today's programme need to be revitalised!


We spent 2 hours (30 minutes should have been enough!) reflecting on the process of what we had learnt on Day 1! WTF! I tried to wipe day one from my brain and we had some monotonic male droning on about how we should have implemented the thinking processes from the first day with our mentoree. If I spoke in that same way to my mentoree she would run away and I would not blame her!

I had dutifully filled in the feedback sheet on day 1 and I got stuck into the programme as presented to us. This man spent a good 15 minutes defending the professional development and how 'most of the participants had found the day and process worthwhile'. He commented about the principals and provisionally registered teachers.

Now for my unbiased (I jest) opinion. Most provisionally registered teachers LOVE everything. They are new and everything is new to them. Most principals say "it's good," when they know better. They know that if they comment about how it really is, they will be asked to find a better way. They often take the 'easier' option as there are more pressing matters for them to contend with, like running a school.

The better part of the day was the afternoon when we found out the real nuts and bolts of recommending someone for full registration. It took 1 hour! The woman who was running this session was reasonably good and had at least re written the power point slides to suit her personality.

Another thing - what is it with power points? Why do professional development situations rely on them? If I see another power point presentation at a PD I will explode and then the audience will have something to view. I mean they give you a hand out with all the slides on it as well, then you get documents that they are reading from which is all power point driven. There is no personality in the presentation. In fact I find it difficult to comprehend that a teaching organisation presents Professional Development in such a poor way. It is an insult to the profession I am a part of.

I have run my own PD session (within my faculty at work) and it is hard to make it totally relevant for all. I had the overhead going with the interactive whiteboard, I had handouts and I spent no more than 20 minutes delivering the information. A question and answer session and off we go. I know that this is small compared to what I witnessed today but I had gained some understanding of what was wanted BEFORE I began.

Today we were told. We were not developed. Our expertise was not encouraged dramatically. That was why were there. We had been chosen by our schools to mentor new graduates as we are seen as leaders at various stages of development.

There were some who found the day valuable. For some it was an eye opener. I am lucky I work in a school where we are given this information - often in bucketloads, but at least we are aware. For me, today was about racking up 6 hours of Professional Development towards my 100 hours needed in 5 years time. I am disappointed that I see it this way. I am disappointed that I was not presented with best practice as a reference point to refer to when reflecting on my own teaching.

Tomorrow, thankfully, I am back in the classroom.


Frogdancer said...

At least we got some knitting done.

Joh said...

I find it insulting and extremely frustrating - I don't knit!!

It's hard enough taking time out from school, but to have it wasted drives me nuts.

scottsabode said...

I feel partially responsible because I sent you guys on it! Poor dears! All I can say is 1. they have a captive audience and this has made them lazy 2. I sat through two days just like you did, and so did our AP etc. 3. This now gives you the opportunity to act, with the the"blessing" of the VIT, as an officially sanctioned mentor to staff. That's the real value of the exercise.

Anonymous said...

If I spoke in that same way to my mentoree she would run away and I would not blame her!

I've often felt this way about the PD we do at my school. We should expect the same performance from PD presenters that we expect from the teachers. If I taught my class in PowerPoint, my students would learn very little and they'd probably fall asleep 5 minutes into it. So, why is it okay to lead PD sessions this way? As a teacher, I'm continually asking myself, "How can I reach them?" but it seems that the people who PD have never thought that.

I could go on!

Gorgeous said...

This is my first ever response to a blog - so please treat me gently. I need to identify myself first - I am Widget's gorgeous sister. I am also two chapters short of completing my PhD in which I have been studying professional development of teachers. This study came out of the same frustrations that you experienced. The core of what I am saying is that the needs of teachers attending a PD must be considered. Just as we as teachers attend to the needs of each of our students in every lesson we present, so too the PD we either choose or as in this case must attend, must meet our needs.
This is difficult in PDs such as this one where we are learning the skills of being a mentor, but I felt when I attended this PD that our experience could have been better acknowledged through offering us strategies for reflection and thinking that we could take away and use not only with our mentoree but also with the children we teach. There are heaps - but as teachers we have only a few that are tried and true in our repertoire. Our time is precious and valuable. Our work is complicated and difficult. We are always looking for ways to improve our practice and as a PD presenter myself, I try to take that attitude into every presentation I give.
Thankyou for airing your comments about PD which have backed up everything that my research is about.