My PLC was the best professional development of my life. A group of five teachers got together once a week to improve our assessment skills and strategies. I was interested, they were interested, and I learned a lot.
I’ve been to a dozen conferences for PD too – sitting in on lectures about why lectures aren’t effective, and filling out worksheets about adding creativity to the classroom. The PLC, and my blog, always stand out as the work I’m most proud of and that improved me most as a teacher.
Iowa is getting excited about competency-based education, which would let students follow their own interests and strengths around the school instead of following their age group. We would stop wasting students’ time by giving them C after C and meet them where they a) are and b) want to be.
There’s a lot to think about. What if we end up with a bunch of expert skate boarders and none of the doctors we want? After all, my school set up this PLC to make us better teachers, and it interested me so much I quit my teaching job so I could work on it all the time. Giving up control has the downside that you have to give up control. If we let students study their interests, do we have the faith that presenting them with smart, helpful role models and the world’s information will be good for the society we want to have?