For years, I cringed at the terms Professional Development or Workshop. My first in-service experience, as a second year teacher, literally left me in tears. I remember going to the workshop, excited, being a novice teacher and all. I thought 'hey, something new, right? I am going to be able to apply new techniques for my students". WRONG!!! All WRONG!! Instead I was left feeling overwhelmed, confused, wondering what is it that I was really supposed to do. Was I supposed to ignore all that I learned in college, drop the strategies the same school district taught me just a year ago?
You see the district had just adopted a new textbook series (I would learn later that I am just better at creating innovative lessons than following a script). And every teacher was expected to use the textbook in the format, or so I thought, that the facilitators presented.Thank God for veteran teacher and my mentor, Ms Roberta Ellis (if anyone knows where she is let me know right away). Ms. Ellis told me, own what you need, you got to make it yours. She reminded me, that I was a good teacher that I had a great first year and that you got to make professional development yours. Of course, at that time I truly didn’t know nor understood what she meant.
I would spend years after, attending workshops, training etc that I had to try and make my own. What I came to realize, that if I had choice in what I wanted to do, I was way more invested. And if I didn’t have choice, the presenters had to be dynamic, engaging and fun.
Then came social media. Period. My life has forever changed. I love sitting in a chat, even if it’s just edu-stalking a riveting conversation. I learned all about Google Apps, back when ISTE hosted weekly sessions on Second Life, (now SL is just creepy to me). Through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest I created my own professional learning community and personalize my professional development. I have sat in my pjs with my laptop and participated in one of the world’s largest PD event when Google hosted Google Education on Air (if you missed it you can still see it). That was awesome! I have tweeted and learned from my friends over at @EdTechAfterDark and #3rdchat, great educators, great people, tons of ideas.
My Pajama PD Party is my way of helping others bring back the fun and take ownership of their own professional development. We know its importance but sometimes we just want to have fun have it our way.
Learn it. Play it. Own it.