Professional development that develops glacially
It may just be the time of year, but I have been really frustrated with some of the staff development this year. We were given the task of reading a book on the racial achievement gap over the summer. I did this, even though this book was annoyingly condescending toward teachers in several spots. We then were supposed to meet about once a month to discuss ways of closing the achievement gap. This is ironic, given that our school has been commended for having a smaller gap than most of the schools in our area, but I still say that ANY gap is unacceptable.
But here's the problem. It is now almost December. We will not meet again for two months. And so far, all we've talked about is what our school is like.
News flash: we have a mixture of socio-economic groups, a mixture of races, a mixture of kids requiring special services, and a mixture of academic abilities. We aren't rich, we aren't poor. We aren't all future Rhodes scholars or doctors' kids, but we aren't all going to be drop-outs, either.
Unfortunately, I am about to scream. Hours of meetings so we can role play and fishbowl about stuff we already knew. We have played cutesy "getting to know you" games and listen to truly abysmal poems read to us by one of the presenters. My heartstrings have been tugged into Gordian knots. We have dodged an attempt to dump a heaping load of guilt on those of us who have a family and/or who do not spend at least $2000 of our own money on our classrooms (gee, last year I spent $1999-- just missed it!). I must admit I suppressed a giggle when one of the GOB district administrators talked interminably about how he is an "oppressor." Noooooo. Really?
How to say this with a modicum of tact? The school year will be half over before we meet again, and we have yet to discuss ONE concrete strategy to begin to address this serious educational problem. I am beginning to think we are paying a bunch of money to a group of people who do not have any suggestions. I don't expect miracles, and I don't expect this problem to disappear overnight, but don't waste my time, please-- I'm up to my neck, already. Given the hours we've put into this, I was hoping for a little insight, at least.
At a minimum, keep the treacly vers libre to yourselves, please.
Ever felt like this? Vent! I feel better already.