I attended our annual teachers’ convention yesterday, which turned out to be only one day because of the new family holiday. For the past (almost twenty) several years, convention has had the same structure: two days, keynote motivational speaker, several greetings, and break-out sessions. Two earlier conventions stand out in my mind: Minot and our own staff retreat to Fort San. These two were fantastic. Minot was a great opportunity for staff bonding. In addition, I was young and we stayed up most of the night singing and visiting. The other convention was a staff retreat which my principal concocted, which turned out to be a success. Not only did we bond, but we had some great PD! We collaboratively developed a vision and we really took some time to understand and appreciate one another.
Anyway, I found this years’ convention to be quite enjoyable, and I think one of the main reasons is because it was a little different. It was one day, and I attended a lunch meeting. I like change and I think so did the majority of the teachers. I’m not sure what I would mandate for convention if I had to decide for the entire school division, but I do think that a little change is important. Convention used to be the only opportunity for PD, but I think that the perhaps the goals need to be readdressed. Are we getting together to socialize with our colleagues? If this is so, then we need structured activities to foster this. Are we getting together for information dissemination? For motivation? For professional development? A combination of purposes? If we need to focus on professional development, then perhaps the one-day shot is not enough.
I have been thinking about the lunch meeting regarding outdoor pursuits, and I was impressed by the passion that I saw from some of my colleagues. I can relate: my kids are actively involved in athletics: hockey, ball, curling, badminton, volleyball and golf. My husband played Junior A Hockey and he loved and lived it, so I understand the passion. I think that some of our school coaches who are passionate about their work could take it to the next level – this is just encouragement. Too often, in my rural setting there are too many kids that can’t compete, especially when it comes to golf. This saddens me because I know how much pleasure my son has obtained from this sport. Some sports are very expensive – golf – equipment, shoes, fees, rain gear… This stuff really is needed, and many kids cannot participate. Other kids can see that they can’t get any better if their parents can’t get them a membership or lessons. Perhaps we can spend more of our money on really developing more of these life-long sports like golf, biking, hiking and curling.
Just a few thoughts…