Monday, May 12, 2008

Professional Development on a Dime

I have to say that I am impressed with the professional development in my new district. I guess I thought it wouldn't be great because the area is so small. So far, I've seen a couple creative ways to have professional development when there isn't a huge budget for it.

Today we had peer observations. Two people in each grade level volunteered (or in my case, were nominated when out on personal leave) to teach an hour-long lesson while the other teachers in the grade level observed. After each observation, we met for 45 minutes to debrief. I taught a Lucy Calkins writing lesson and it went really well, though teaching in front of seven other teachers and administrators is nerve-wracking, to say the least. My colleague taught a GLAD lesson and, though I'm trained in GLAD, I always take something new away from it when I see it taught by someone else. This was a relatively cheap way to provide the whole staff with some training. The only cost was for the subs (one half-day for each teacher).

Another smart and thrifty kind of professional development was the Best Practices Fair. They called for teachers to volunteer to teach a session during our whole district inservice day. All three sessions I went to were really good, which is more than I can say for some of the professional development that I've paid for in the past.

It just goes to show that there is so much talent within the walls of our own schools. Kudos to the administration for finding ways for us to gain access to each other's strengths.

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