Due to my recent role as a presenter in several trainings, I have been forced to look at my own attitudes about staff development. Generally speaking, I would say that I like some staff development. As a whole, I see most training as valuable, but it is easy to let those other things get in the way. For example, the attitude that you have something else you could be doing. We often let those overwhelming parts of our job get in the way of our ability or desire to be lifelong learners. I love to learn and would say that most people know this about me. I do get frustrated when I have to sit through training that I already know how to do or that is extraordinarily boring. So what has being a presenter taught me?
First, keep in mind that often the presenter is generally not the one requiring you to attend the professional development activity. Being rude to this person only reflects badly on you. I would say that overall I have not found this to be an issue, but there is always at least one in a group. Here's a hint: Try to avoid sitting with those individuals. Sometimes that is impossible, but it can really help your outlook on a day long training.
In the past I have been very frustrated about sitting through professional development that was on a topic I already had a great deal of knowledge about. This has always seemed redundant and a waste of my time. However, being a trainer has changed my mind on this topic. Many of those who claim to have knowledge on the topic sometimes overestimate their skills or do not implement the practices into the classroom. This is a great opportunity to help these teachers to refine their skills and hopefully integrate the skill or strategy into their own classrooms. Additionally, as a participant I plan to be more positive about training regardless of my experience level. There are always new pieces of information that can be added to my knowledge base, but more importantly I can be an asset to the trainer. By being positive about the topic and helping those around us understand the professional development, we can all influence the attitudes of those within our school.
Looking forward to a positive, engaging year. Hope you are too.