I spent today at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas. Which I think is our best city in Texas. I love San Antonio! I was there to attend a workshop put on my Texas Humanities. They are an incredible organization that is funded by tax payer dollars. Normally I am not a fan of these groups, but the work Texas Humanities does is excellent. The put on workshops for Texas Teachers that are specific to their discipline. This is the second one I have attended and both were extremely well-organized and beneficial to the teacher.
I have to be honest, most of what passes for personal development for teachers is awful. Reading a powerpoint, holding hands and singing Kumbaya is not my idea of a helpful day. I don’t know where you stand, but as a teacher I want anything that can be helpful to me in my classroom and I need it delivered in the fastest and most effective way. I don’t want to color for two hours (did this at one workshop), or sing a rhyming song (did this at one workshop) or have the “expert” read the powerpoint they created. I need information and I need the how to use it in a quick and efficient matter. This is what Texas Humanities does and they do it very well.
They invite published college professors to come in a speak to in their area of expertise and then give a chance to ask questions and work with the experts in a small group setting later in the day. Very well organized and very helpful to me as a classroom teacher. This workshop was held at the Witte Museum in San Antonio. We were able to tour it afterwards for free. What a great way to end a great day. I love museums anyway and to be able to visit at my leisure was a great way to end the day. Thanks to all for making it possible.
So having said that, I want to say this: why can’t we spend our money on these types of professional development? I suspect it has to do with the publishers of certain curriculum and their desire to get their stuff into our hands. But let me caution them, if you are going to present your product to us, do it well. If you don’t your product will not be used, or at least won’t be renewed it teachers have anything to do with it. We had a group come in one year that spoke to our faculty as if we had never taught a day in our lives and they were going to “correct” our teaching. Well I can tell you what happened to that group, they are gone and did not get a ringing endorsement from our teaching staff or our district. Help us help the kids by giving us high quality presentations in a short amount of time. Teachers have many demands: planning, meetings, grading, duty and these are all done outside of the normal teaching day. Please don’t waste my time, teach me and give me something I can use and you have a friend for life.
This is what Texas Humanities does and does well! Thank you. Until next time, peace.