PD shouldn’t be an event – ever!

Over on twitter tonight, there has been a few discussions about professional development, what and when and how and ……

Why? Why do we continue to discuss the best type or the best way or the best method or …..

Professional development is a frame of mind. As a professional, I don’t decide when I’m going to “DO” PD because it happens in many different ways and different times. I don’t look online or f2f or in groups or at school or at a convention because, well, it happens at all of these but can happen in a conversation with a parent or child, reading a book or watching a video. I don’t separate out when I do PD and when I don’t. Because I don’t separate out when I’m learning and when I’m not and PD is about learning.

Why are we debating the value of this or that pd?

Is there a prize if you win? Do you get something? Just like I no longer argue with teachers about the use/merits of technology, I don’t argue about the PD. I do put expectations on what they will do – like if they go to an “event”, they will come back to share with us and we will then add it to our repository of what we know. I will ask them later in the year how they plan on using their learning. And you know what? Not one of them has withered away. In fact, it has expanded the learning that is going on in our building and expanded the expertise we have. We don’t look at the “cool resources” or the “incentives – get a new ipad2”. Instead, we examine the PD from a learning perspective and what it will add for the person and, then, the whole because we’ve come to understand that to share what we know is a requirement of learning and growing as a school, a staff; as individuals who will be learning well after we leave the “school”, just like our students.

No longer on that path

I’ve quit arguing about education at a philosophical level – whether we need to use technology or not, whether we need to go to PD or provide more PD, whether we need to change the way our school functions and responds to students. I no longer care about winning the argument. It’s a new path. Doing what we need to do to help our students in whatever capacity we can – without using guilt or brow beating or shaming or intimidating or bragging or whatever. We all have strengths and when we share those strengths as a group of learners to help each other so that we can become better at providing for our students, then our students win – and that is the bottom line!

Some day soon I will describe the journey our staff has taken in the past year but, safe to say, we have now emerged from some very dark and troubling waters as a strong group of educators committed to doing what is best for our students. We aren’t carbon-copies but individuals who, through some difficult struggles, have identified at the core that we need to do what is best for students – not for the adults, not for the teachers but for the students. We don’t always agree on best practice at times but we are becoming better at moving past the debating and looking at solutions and options that will allow us to best help our students. Humbly we walk, so as to lift our students higher, believing they are capable of more than they first think. To allow them to shine is our goal, to help them succeed is our mission. The future we cannot see so we work hard to help our students, the best we can, to boldly go where no one has gone before knowing that we have a great deal of learning and work to do as educators/learners/people.

We really don’t have time to argue/debate what, really, is an insignificant issue.


  1. Reply

    The most important thing you said was –
    We will “add it (What we learn) to our repository ” and “we’ve come to understand that to share what we know is a requirement of lear ning and growing as a school, a staff; as individuals who will be learning well after we leave the “school”, just like our students.

    Creating a record of what we learn that will never be finished is what’s important.

    • julia


      I really liked the notion of PD not being an event. I think it is important to understand that, as life-long learners, we are constanlty engaged in professional growth. We learn from each encounter with a colleauge, lunch time disccusion, student reaction, etc. -the list is quite endless. I hope that as educators, we go forth with open minds and listening ears to all the opportunities for learning and growth that exist in our day to day expereinces.

    • Reply

      Ashley, I read your response and there are many things that do resonate. As educators, we need to look past “events” and really begin to look at the whole – what is it that will help us to move forward as a person not just as an educator. Similarly, we need to view our students, not as students but as people with whom we interact for a period of time. How can we interact and assist studetns? One of the great things about social media is that it is blurring the lines between our separate selves – and helping us to see people more wholely, not just at particular times or in particular ways but as people who have dynamic lives and relationships. Check out this article by Lisa Petrilli and millennials http://www.lisapetrilli.com/2011/10/27/leading-millennials-what-they-really-want/ – It’s not so much about what they want as a message about how we need to look at ALL relationships as social media allows us to mash different aspects of our lives together.

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