PD Days are Great Holidays for Teachers….Not

booksKids get a day off on PD or PA days. We don’t. A PD day for educators at my school requires that teachers are expected to be at work during usual work hours, not arriving late or leaving early, as well as preparing for presenting staff workshops we have volunteered to present (or have been volun-told). Here is a typical PD day in my school:

  1. mass in our neighbouring parish
  2. a staff meeting (these are always fun and productive, of course)
  3. usually these staff meetings tend to be longer than normal and they are often interactive:
    a.   we read articles about current education issues, such as closing the learning gap, or the proper use of EQAO (Enhanced Quality and Accountability Ontario), an exam that is administered yearly to all Ontario grade 3, 6, and 9 students.
    b. watch a video alone or with educational articles
  4. Boy-Readingdiscuss the video or articles in groups and present our group’s perspective on said article to the staff. We open it up for debate. There’s nothing like a good healthy argument to enhance learning, I always say.
  5. attend a workshop held by either an education expert (often someone who travels the country or the world offering academic and professional advice to teachers), a consultant, one of us, or one of our administrators.
  6. learn about and practice new educational mandates eg. the BANSHO 3-part math lesson was instigated last year, intended to make math easier for students to learn. We learned about it, practiced it at the staff meeting, then were required to use it in our classes over the following month and bring proof of this practice to the next staff meeting.

7.         use the remainder of the day (which isn’t much) for teacher-stuff:

  • catch up on grading
  • prepare more classroom materials (read conducting research on the internet to find interesting and informative lessons, instead of the same old thing, and finding printable worksheets to use with said lessons and photocopying them for enough kids in class)
  • organize classroom supplies
  • conduct inventory of classroom supplies and return receipts to the office
  • tidy the classroom,
  • decorate the classroom to make it more appealing for the students (yes it does matter)  – n.b. once it took me 7 hours simply to re-paper, add borders on bulletin boards and posters. No fake.
  • aplushang student’s work where everyone can see it to encourage self-esteem (yes it has an impact)
  • make necessary phone calls to parents
  • work on report cards
  • conduct parent-teacher interviews in person or over the phone (although this xtranormal video is somewhat extreme, parents of students who perform poorly in school often make many of these comments and seriously expect the school to give their children exceptional teaching and treatment over other students)
  • organize field trips which now takes 2 months, as it includes requesting parents and volunteers to agree to a criminal record check
  • scholarshiptyping classroom newsletters
  • meet with the IPRC committee (you can read about that in a previous blog)
  • meet with the administrator over issues to do with teaching ,managing behavioural students, or communication with parents
  • create a separate curriculum for children with IEPS since many special education teachers work with children but aren’t expected to design the necessary teaching program.
  • and more duties than I can remember to mention

Ahhh, PD days. An easy extra holiday for teachers province-wide and just one more perk that comes with being an educator.

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