That Inner Child

I walked into the Teacher’s Lounge the other day, where I was to present my 2.5 hours of training. You see, each year, the State of Michigan requires school districts to provide so many hours of professional development.

My place on the docket was dead last. With 2 days of training under their belts, I felt the teachers sizing me up as I entered the room.

Thankfully, I have lived through years of painful professional development. You know, the kind where you just want to stick forks in your eyes and run out like a raving maniac? My friend and colleague and respected Palanca Leadership Board member was going first. She is on a much different level than I. Her pedagogy has been with policy makers and, having been a superintendent, she brings credibility to what we do. Of course, her presentation was flawless and meaningful.

I had planned to be more on the affective plane. I wanted to plant seeds that would eventually flourish. I really wanted these next few hours to fly by painlessly.My philosophy on training any teachers is to have ideas that resonate with them.

Things that touch the inner child,

Although these were high school teachers, who often face young adults with sensibilities beyond childhood, it is so important that teachers and students alike reach out to their inner child. We all need to assess ourselves daily, consult feelings while nurturing them with respect.I believe one is never too old to play. Yes, there should be an objective to attain, but the process of getting there can be…well…fun.

So, of course the beginning of my presentation had IT issues. It happens every darn time! Firewalls are made to not be breached. SO, my software is considered the enemy. No matter how many times I practice overcoming this step, I stand there like an idiot while it gets put together by someone in the audience who knows the system. Don’t say I should have prepared. I prepped. To. THE. MAX. Even scripted what I wanted to say. I put the presentation on a thumb drive, loaded it into another computer outside of home wifi.

So, standing there, I am sent back to days when my lessons would begin behind the 8 ball. I had to dig out.People were starting to get “that look”. The eyes were rolling. I thought: “Lisa, you don’t need a presentation on a computer. Reach in and bring out what you do. If the computer connects, great. If it doesn’t…even better.”

We swiftly got involved in activities that took some group thought and dynamic. I had to close in on my audience. Many didn’t follow directions. The team that won received gift cards donated by a local business. This tangible made some more interested, while others were not moved.

We moved into some points I like to touch on: Why are you even here? What drives you to stay? Do you guarantee what you do?

They began to get more involved.

Every 10 minutes there was a change of activity. Each one designed to get a little more participation from all. It was a joy to me to hear them laughing at things I was having them do and I even overheard someone saying they were going to try this with their students.

The two new administrators got a good look at how their staff would interact this year. There are new hires that are eager and wanting to fit in. There are seasoned teachers that should be set in their ways, but while there may have been a few holdouts, the staff became willing participants as the afternoon went on. Good sports all around!

These teachers gave me much more than I thought they would.

Day 3 is a tough place to be as a PD presenter.

I hope I gave them reasons to pause and even smile.

When I retired in 2015, my main goal in moving forward was to give people seeds that would allow them to be more thoughtful about the human beings they are.

Policy making and curriculum building are for someone else to address.

We are into the people business. We are here to give support, make things easier on the day-to-day, and providing mentor support for those who need to vent or discuss outside their school buildings.

This bunch of humans was stellar, accepting, and just plain fun.

Thanks for listening.

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