I think I knew this, but I didn't really get it. Now... I get it.
As a principal, I would try my best to model and provide excellent PD. In order to move our entire campus forward, I would labor and toil over PD design in order to make a big impact for all. I would try to make it engaging for all by differentiating for differing levels of mastery. My materials would be prepared ahead of time and I would have my questions ready to ask. Musical interludes were common and there would always be plenty of movement and sharing. I would be sure to highlight specific strategies and take-aways that could be used immediately in classrooms. I also had two dynamic luxuries. I did most of this planning with brilliant collaboration from my AP and my instructional coach. Most importantly, I had tons of time to design and prep the PD. It was not uncommon to spend three or four hours designing each hour of PD. I believe my efforts to design and provide high-quality learning experiences for teachers were the most important hours of my time.
As a teacher, I try my best to provide excellent learning for my students. In order to move my class forward, I invest brain-power and sweat to ensure that each student benefits from the learning activities. I consider differentiation as much as possible and I hope to have material and questions prepped and ready for the day prior to the learning experience. I have the luxury of planning time with a smart and complementary team of teachers. I wish we could meet every day, but it isn't feasible...yet. Without them, I wouldn't be able to leave campus before dark! I believe every teacher's hardest work and most important work happens during the lesson design process. With approximately 5.5 hours of classroom learning time each day, I estimate that I have about 15-20 minutes to plan each hour of learning. This includes 45 minutes of time during my available conference times and 90-120 minutes before or after school each day. These numbers are probably inflated due to all of the other time requirements that happen during a teacher's planning time. Ten hour days are the short ones!
PD happens. Great classroom strategies, models for instruction, and high-yield strategies are taught, practiced, and discussed. As a principal, I wondered why these strategies didn't show up more ubiquitously in classrooms across campus. Now... I get it.
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