Calling from the Prius, Day 7: Pandemic Professional Development


Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.

School is back for teachers, and so far it's just fine! (One exclamation point!) 

The teachers I'm surrounded with seem glad to be back to some semblance of normal, though school will be very different. To get our minds ready for that "new normal," we're spending the first couple weeks in meetings and preparation, attending tech sessions, and just plain regrouping before the kids come back on September 16. This is a major mind shift; I can't tell you how many teachers told me that the first day back, they were close to tears. Things are different, and we don't have a clear picture of how this hybrid teaching thing is going to work. We have trainings in technology, in mental health, in building and health safety, and lots of free time. I don't think the free time was intentional; it may be what happens when you've never planned a two-week conference for 800 teachers before, and you have neither enough time to plan it nor enough funding to pay for professional trainers. 

So we have sessions, and we have schedules that don't always match up. We're supposed to be here, but not there. We aren't sure what "Incorporating PD Into Instruction" means, but we have time to do it every day. We had a session we totally missed because we didn't know about it. Some of us teach at separate schools and none of their schedules really line up. We're still wondering what our teaching tent will look like. But it's all fine. We're still getting some good stuff, and we have time to think. How often does that happen? It's good.

Yesterday, I got to lead a session on producing instructional video with my colleague Taylor. We are both musicians and tend toward obsessive; video is our new thing. We both found video production relatively recently, and well... Taylor is a ninja. (Visit his vlog, The Chronicles of Teacher Tay.) It was a fun session. We presented it three times, six hours total, for high school, then middle school, then elementary art and music teachers. It went nicely; lots of good feedback, but the lead-up... well... a bit of an adventure for this fun-loving maniac. Observe:

If the video doesn't show, click here.



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