Last week, I attended part one of a four-part professional development series. One of the reasons I decided to attend this training is because it meets four times during the school year, which allows the participants time to implement the content and return to share their experiences and build on the previous knowledge. So often I’ve attended trainings and left with every intention of implementing things, but then life happens and I never revisit to the content. I walked away last week with several things that I can immediately implement into my practice with the incentive of being able to share my experiences with others in October when we meet for part two. I’m also looking forward to hearing about the various experiences of others as they implement these strategies in their various work settings. I think that I can also learn and benefit from their experiences which will likely differ from mine.

I do, however, have a few critiques following part one of this series. First, although the trainer was very knowledgeable on the subject area, I wish she had shared a written copy of the information with us. She provided us all paper and a pen to take notes on, but as I tried to listen, take notes, and redraw her diagrams, I missed some key information. I also wish she provided us with the opportunity to collaborate with and get to know the other participants in the series.  It would have been nice to get contact information of others who are also implementing the same strategies over time as we are not all based at the same school site. I wish she had provided the time and experiences to create a professional development community considering that we are all coming from similar backgrounds and will be in trainings together throughout this academic year. Lastly, I wish that she had offered us the opportunity to share our own experiences from our own practice instead of providing us with scenarios in which strategies could be implemented. It seems to me that she overlooked the fact that we are all professionals in the field and we each bring our own experiences and expertise to the PD series. I would prefer a PD session tailored to our personal experiences as opposed to a one size fits all approach.

I am looking forward to part two in October. I do think that this four-part structure will benefit me and my practice throughout the entire academic year. I do, however, plan to arrive early for the next session to network on my own prior to the beginning of instruction.

Allison Papke is a veteran teacher with experience teaching elementary, middle, and high school as well as teaching literacy coursework to undergraduates in elementary and special education. She also has experience as a tech specialist for grades K-10 and experience as a technology coach working with elementary teachers and college students to plan and implement technology into classroom instruction. She is currently earning her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Literacy Studies and Digital Literacy.

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