Ask most teachers "how do you like professional development?" The answers will include boring, useless, and a waste of time.
During staff development I nod and look interested while writing in my notebook. I imagine tunneling out or going over the wall dodging management's spotlights and Tommy Guns. At one particularly awful presentation I calculated the factorials from 1 to 20. (20 factorial is equal to the product of 20 and all the positive integers less than 20. Google tells me it comes out to be 2,432,902,008,176,640,000. I wonder if I got it right.) All this because management frowns on my drinking bourbon while on the job.
It was a nice surprise yesterday wasn't a total waste. A full-day training in restorative circles was actually pretty useful. Though it was mostly a re-run of training we did just months ago, I learned a couple things. I'm surprised but happy.
I may be sanguine about this professional development because it is my last with this school. It helps to know I'm almost gone. Some fads and ideas brought in by management for our professional development are good, most are bad, but all of them fade and disappear after three to five years. Like riding a merry-go-round, we come back to where we started over and over. This time I'm getting off.
It's nice to go out on, if not a high note then at least not a low one. I'm grateful to the trainers, the participants, and the clock which moved steadily and without fail toward our dismissal. I'm grateful to my friend with whom I texted ridiculousness throughout. I'm grateful that I'm done with professional development in this organization. One more step toward something new.
A colleague sitting next to me at the training asked what that something new will be. I said I don't know yet. Ah, he said. What a good place to be. It really is a good place, an interesting place strange as that may seem. I've learned that much even if it wasn't part of the plan. Learning is unpredictable like that. We never know what we'll learn next.