Friday Thoughts— February 17, 2017

Fun Professional Development

I’m excited about today. Ever since the first faculty inservice meeting I ever attended, I have always looked forward to inservice, and today is no different. I enjoy stepping back from the daily routine, reconnecting with colleagues, and learning ways to improve. I hope you’re looking forward to today’s time together as well.

In addition to today’s meetings, next week will be fun for me because I’ll be presenting at and attending the TICAL Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday. And yes, I did say fun and professional development in the same sentence!

I’ve found the key is finding the right PD opportunities. But it’s not always about the PD session topic— it’s also about the other conference attendees. Here’s a trick I learned that may work for you: after introducing yourself to someone in the room, ask two questions— What do you do? and What’s working in your classroom for you right now?

By asking these two questions, you’ll be able to learn so much! From cool instructional apps to classroom management procedures, effective teachers are often eager to share all of the cool things they have going on. As you listen, take notes, writing down the key ideas and links to check out. By the end of the conference, you’ll have an awesome list of ideas, you will have met some great people, and you will leave fired up and ready for the next day of school. This is how you make PD fun.

Here are a few other PD tips I’ve picked up along the way:

  • Go with a buddy but don’t attend the same sessions. Split up, meet new people, learn new ideas, and then compare notes at the end.
  • Present a session. You’ll often get a registration discount (half or full), you get twice the PD hours (1 hour presentation = 2 hours PD), and you’ll make it easier for conference attendees to start a conversation with you. Feel uneasy about presenting? Tag-team it with a colleague.
  • You don’t have to follow the conference schedule. Set up your own smaller meetings with other conference attendees. Often times these impromptu meetings end up being the most beneficial.
  • Find a note-taking system that works for you (like Evernote). After the conference, spend some time reviewing your notes and filing them away for future reference.
  • Remember that a conference is about the people not the sessions.
  • Stick around until the end. Several attendees will leave early which improves your chances of winning a door prize.
  • If you select PD opportunities based on how many PD hours you’ll receive, you won’t truly benefit.
  • Twitter is a great way to grow professionally. You won’t get official PD hours, but you’ll learn so much. New to Twitter? Come talk to me and I’ll help you get started. #ARKEDCHAT is a great place to start.
  • Work to find great conferences. I’m not aware of a database listing every excellent PD opportunity, but I am aware of the speakers on the circuit. Email them to find out which conferences are the best. Also, when you’re at a conference, ask other attendees what conferences they recommend. If you look hard enough, you’ll find what you want.
  • Share what you’ve learned. When you hear something great, share it with other teachers (or the entire faculty) when you return. Spread the wealth.

Professional development should be fun, engaging, and make you more excited about teaching than you were before the conference started. If you come across an opportunity you want to attend because it will help you be a better teacher, share that with us and we’ll see if we can make it work.


Shout-Outs
  • The re-enrollment deadline was this week, and Lisa Lancaster certainly deserves a shout-out for working like crazy to make sure each student who re-enrolls does it correctly so she can send them a congratulatory email. Awesome job!

  • CAC’s inaugural bowling season wrapped up this week. A HUGE shout-out goes to Jan Penrod for leading the charge. The kids had so much fun this season, and it was a great experience! Having three state-finalists in the first year is pretty impressive! I can’t wait to see how we do next year.

  • Our boys’ basketball season is in the books. A HUGE shout-out goes to Bradley Spencer and Blake McNair for the countless hours they put in this season. They pushed our guys hard, challenged them, and helped them learn to work together through adversity. Coach Spencer and Coach McNair are wonderful role models for their teams and they did a great job this year.

  • It was great so many 8th grade boys had the opportunity to step up and lead chapel this week. A big shout-out goes to Caroline Prestridge for giving students the opportunity, encouraging them to participate, and helping them prepare.

  • A tradition unlike any other— Hush Hearts on Mustang Mountain— was once again a success! A big thanks goes to Melissa Leverett and the STUCO leaders for organizing and encouraging students to participate. Love was truly in the air Monday and Tuesday.

  • With basketball tournaments and sick days, this has been a tough week for Shelby Lillard to get all of our classes covered. She certainly deserves a huge shout for making it happen. Also, thank you to everyone who helped cover a class. I know Miranda Johnson, Zac Stewart, and Chelsea Baber stepped up multiple times to help out, and so did many other teachers. Thank you.

Upcoming Events
  • Monday, February 20— No School (Presidents Day)
  • Wednesday, February 22— J. Collier at TICAL Conference
  • Thursday, February 23— J. Collier at TICAL Conference
  • Friday, February 24— Lights Up Day Tour (all day)
  • Sunday, February 26- Wednesday, March 1— College Tour
  • Friday, March 3— CFA Leader Academy Session (7:30-8:45 AM)
  • Wednesday, March 8— End of 3rd Nine Weeks’ Grading Period (2:00 dismissal day)
  • Thursday, March 9— Grades due by noon
  • Friday, March 10— The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet matinee
  • Saturday, March 11— The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet (7:00 PM)
  • Sunday, March 12— The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet (2:00 PM)
  • Monday, March 13— The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet (7:00 PM)
  • Monday, March 20- Friday, March 24— Spring Break (4 Weeks Away)

Responsibilities for Next Week
Week B
  • Cafeteria AM— T. Shoemaker
  • Cafeteria PM— E. Schramm
  • Parking Lot AM— K. Quattlebaum
  • Parking Lot PM— H. Cruce
  • HS Lunch— B. McNair, J. Gates, & K. Holland
  • MS Lunch— T. Beach, T. Hodges, & C. Morse
  • Chapel— T. Beach
  • Detention— Admin

*Click here for complete 16-17 Duty Schedule

Resources Worth Checking Out for Personal and Professional Growth



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Here’s a great 7-part sermon series about simplifying life from Willow Creek church.


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Chapter from Quick Answers for Busy Teachers


Note: the above chapter is a PDF to make it easy to print if you’d like.

Book Recommendation


Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul by Bill Hybels
(Click to view on Amazon)