Traveling is Fun. Pre-Travel is Not.

I hate pre-traveling.

The planning.My Packing Skills Have a Lot to Be Desired.

The scheduling.

The packing.

The over packing.

The drive to the airport (2:45 am wake-up call).

The sleepless night because you lie in fear you won’t hear your 17 alarm clocks, and you will miss the whole thing.

The arriving at the airport 2 hours early, just so I can make my way through security in 43 seconds.

While 43 seconds sounds quick, it’s a lifetime when you’re being touched in places where you shouldn’t be touched (how many people on the no-fly list do I share a name with???)

The checking in at the hotel only to discover I’ve forgotten something I reminded myself over and over not to forget (mental note… don’t forget toothbrush… and pants).

You may be asking why I travel if it’s such a hassle?

Because it’s free!  And you know how I love the free stuff (email me if you have any questions… and free stuff).

Once or twice a year, I accept a very gracious invitation that has me show up and attend meetings at a location that’s at least 40 degrees warmer than the one in which I live.

This time it’s the good people at District Administration Magazine.

They have been kind enough to fly me to Phoenix.  They are also going to provide me with some professional development.

And golf.

But mostly professional development.

With some golf.

I can’t thank them enough for the airfare, resort hotel, the opportunity to learn more about technology, instructional design, health care budgets, drop-out prevention, and school wellness.

And don’t forget the golf.

Now if I could just do this without all the pre-travel hassle.

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Professional Development Means Developing as a Professional.

As I look back on my 16 years in education, I’ve seen many changes.

My hairline.

My age.You Have to Change and You Have to Improve.

My weight.

My paycheck.

All have gotten bigger (I’ve notice there’s a lot more bad than good).

The biggest change deals with expectations.

There’s ever increasing pressure from the state and federal government to improve student achievement.

And this attitude shows no sign of slowing down.

One day, I will retire (I hope… I hope… I hope) and at that time it’s likely I will barely recognize public education.

It will be a shell of its former self.  Not necessarily in a bad way, just in a different way (it’s a “it’s not you, it’s me” situation).

One of the changes within this big change is the way educators approach professional development.

When I started out as a teacher, professional development was almost an afterthought.

It was something you did, but not something you took seriously.

It was a day off from school and if you learned anything at the meeting… great.  And if you didn’t learn anything… great.

It was win-win because of the day out of school.

Did I mention you didn’t have to go to school on this day?

To summarize, you got out of it what you put into it.

Which in far too many cases wasn’t much.

A decade later, quality professional development is a key component of a successful school district.

Curriculum, special education, and technology are constantly changing.  In 2011, we need teachers and administrators to change with them.

This takes professional development and lots of it (and money… never forget money).

I used to encourage new teachers to ask about benefits when they interviewed.

Now I tell them to ask about ongoing professional development opportunities.

I guess when you think about it, these are benefits.

For the teacher.

For the school.

And most importantly, for the students.

This blog was written for VIA. The only quarterly eZine for administrators, teachers and advocates of arts integration! VIA provides research, resources and articles on arts integration that are vital to every program’s success.

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Believing You Are Great Leaves Very Little Room for Improvement.

The idea for this blog came to me after reading a comment left on an entry called “Perception”.

It got me thinking why educators and schools are sometimes the last to know they may not be as perfect as they want to believe.I Need This Poster.

I’m not judging, I’m just saying. 

This is an easy trap.

It can happen to administrators, teachers, custodians, cooks, school boards, parents, athletes, students and entire school districts (is there anyone I didn’t insult???).

Most of us like to believe we are self-motivated (if this was true, I wouldn’t need an alarm clock… or a scale).

And most of us are motivated.

Up to a point.

Then not so much.

The point our self-motivation fails us is when things get really hard.

It’s difficult to do things that are uncomfortable (or new).

I think this is one of the reasons it’s taken so long for technology to be taught by classroom teachers.

It can be hard (ie: new).  And confusing.  Even worse, it opens up the possibility the teacher may not be the smartest person in the classroom.

Many of us also believe the organization in which we are members is far greater than it actually is.

If you are involved with a group of people who are consistently telling each other they are great, you start to believe it.

None of us want to think we need to continually improve, but we do.

We all need help to accomplish great things.  To do our best.  To do things we could have never imagined.

It’s impossible to push ourselves to our limits (if that was the case the Marines wouldn’t need Sergeants).

Most of us think we are working as hard as possible.

We believe we are improving on a daily basis and giving at least a 110% effort (except on Fridays and days before holidays… those don’t count).

The truth is we probably aren’t.

That’s where we need help.

Other people (or outsiders) can recognize areas in which we need to improve.

That’s why we need coaches, bosses, mentors, and professional development.

We may not want people telling us we aren’t as great as we think we are, but it’s definitely what we need.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.