As a secondary school teacher in Ontario, I think I’m entitled to 3 days of PD per year. Of course, what really busts my bacon about that is that the PD is dictated to me. I think I spend about 20 additional days per year seeking out professional development on my own terms. Of course, no one knows what you need better than yourself. We preach differentiation for each student, but we don’t seem to do that for teachers. People say that’s the difference between Finland and Canada….that Finland trusts its teachers to be professional. Huh.
One of my classmates in the University of Alberta TLDL program just pointed out a Valenza blog post that mentioned one of my strategies for keeping abreast of new developments in education, library and technology….I direct my own PD. It makes my administration crazy, but I take advantage of whatever I can, and I also say no to things that won’t be useful to me. Here’s some examples of my crazy PD antics:
- Webinars….whenever we can. Buffy Hamilton has one coming up that I suggested that we turn into a board-wide PD opportunity, and we’re doing it!!
- On a day of pre-scheduled PD that I had already seen, I asked permission to visit a teacher I knew from Twitter and had met briefly at a conference, if I could come and see his library. Since he’s in a different board,he was teaching that day, and I got to see his grade 9 class where they are trying to level the playing field of digital fluency by making his 9 week courses mandatory for all grade 9s! His name is Peter McAsh and I learned so much from being able to see that in person and speak with the students as well as with Peter. I even had an hour in his school library.
- Volunteer to convene and present at conferences….gives you a discount usually on registration and hotel, so that you can attend the rest. I’ve attended 3 conferences already this year.
- Piggybacking on subject-specific PD….I’ll be attending reading workshops and post-secondary science workshops because I invite myself along!
- Lurk, follow, post, debate on social networking sites….Twitter is my favourite.
- My favourite PD over the last two years:
- Unplugd – this is an international education summit in Algonquin Park, Ontario
- Ontario Teacher’s Federation sponsoring summertime Ontario School Library Association’s PD
- Educational Computing Organization of Ontario
- Teacher-Librarian Ning