The annual conference held by our state's education agency started Tuesday and continues through today. (I even blogged about this a little bit last year, amazingly enough.) These make for long days, getting up early to make the same ferry as many commuters and then hiking through Seattle (uphill) to get to the convention center. The sessions have been good, but they are always very full. Much of the time in between sessions is spent negotiating some way to grab a seat for an upcoming workshop. I get home in the evenings, which feels very late. I do little more than get comfy and go to bed. And here I am, ready to head out.
I was starting to get annoyed yesterday about all the "educationese," and especially the enthusiasm some people have for it. I think I have heard all that I can manage about professional learning communities (PLCs), powerful teaching and learning, and collaborative assessment. I don't object to any of these, but the way these terms get tossed around is starting to feel like overkill. How on earth will I get other teachers (especially the jaded ones) excited about participating in something like a "PLC" when the term is a bit snarky?
The thing I do like about these conferences is that it does stimulate thinking. PLCs might be a really cool thing to set up, but how? How would we convince principals to restructure the common planning time schedule? How will we train all of the facilitators we would need? What do you do with teachers who are unable or unwilling to buy in to this kind of professional development?
One thing I am seeing and hearing more is that change is slow. Perhaps this seems like a statement from Captian Obvious, but in a society where immediate gratification is the norm, it is refreshing to hear the message that it is important to stick with one model of whatever is being tried...and stick with it over at least 4 years before you expect to see significant results. There are too many fads in education. We need to get off of that merry-go-round.
Today I'm going to a "Science Notebooks" workshop that targets elementary age students, that is, if there are any seats to be had. I have heard a lot of good things about this program and since we'll be overhauling our elementary science program soon, perhaps this is something we should try to roll in.
But first, I have to make it to the ferry.