As teachers, we seek to create sparks; to find the topic or project that will fire students’ curiosity, and transform learning into something new and remarkable. We’re alchemists.
The thing that’s easy to forget is that this spark, this joy in learning something new, is just as important for us.
Some years ago, I took a job at a non-profit called Math for America, a fellowship program for outstanding STEM teachers. They were handing out generous checks to teachers, but hadn’t defined anything more for them to do. “Make a program,” my boss said. So I did. We grew into a large-scale professional learning community of teachers working together to share best practices, challenging themselves and each other on everything from equity initiatives to problem-based learning to AP Calc.
Sounds good, right? ‘But tbh,’ you’re probably thinking, ‘right now just making it through the school day is a victory. I don’t have it in me to take on anything else.’
I hear you! But I’m going to give you a reason anyway: Good PD is for you. Good PD is reaffirming, restorative, rejuvenating. It helps you remember why you chose this profession. It leaves you feeling refreshed, and, with luck, fired up and ready to go.
A year or so into the program at MfA, we sent out a satisfaction survey. My favorite response? “I came for the money, but I stayed for the PD.”
Make space for the PD that’s right for you. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s giving you what you need. Here’s a template with some starter ideas, and a helpful interview. I hope these bring you the inspiration you need to push through to tomorrow, and the day after that, and all the days to follow.