Stop Drinking From a Firehose

So I’m sitting in a District Leadership professional development session and the presenter asks the audience to share with each other what his/her district is doing to inspire teachers to embrace and integrate the Common Core State Standards in their teaching.

Each district administrator shares a common theme: Professional development, professional development, professional development. The delivery varied. Some were using an LMS to provide just-in-time training opportunities. Others hired Teachers on Special Assignment to coach teachers in the classroom. All were providing pull-out sessions in which an outside consultant or district leader taught the teachers while a substitute taught the students.

And then one Curriculum Director said, “We’re offering a lot of pull-out sessions. The teachers are overwhelmed and complaining, but one day when it’s all done, they’ll have an opportunity to use it and realize that it was a positive experience.”

One day?

…. One day?

I know I read it somewhere, but isn’t the rule of thumb that new ideas/trainings need to be implemented within 48-72 hours if they are going to be implemented at all? It’d be like teaching a kindergardner calculus and assuming that one day, when the time is right, the child will put it to use.

How much professional development, or professional learning as some are calling it now, can we shove down a teacher’s throat before they spit it all out? Why are we forcing them to drink from a firehouse instead of a water bottle? Are we helping or hindering our mission?

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