Reflections of a PD representative - try not to take it personally...

I typically have a clear and well-thought out purpose for each blog post, however for this blog post I am going to simply reflect on today's
professional development session. I lead a PD session about 7 weeks
ago for all of the staff members at my high school on social media and
technology integration, and today's session was an extension of the
previous session for any teachers interested. We asked each staff
member to choose 3 out of 4 sessions as their PD day choices. I was
excited for this because I had high hopes that lots of people would want
to come to my session. I thought the first PD session earlier this
year went well, thus lots of teachers would want to attend my second
session. Unfortunately, my high hopes were quickly extinguished as I
watched the Google Doc spreadsheet I created for staff members fill up.

The sessions were filling up quite quickly...however most people were not
signing up for my session. My session was only able to draw about 40
people out of 110, and my session was by far the least popular session.
No matter how you slice this, this was a direct blow to my ego, and
frankly to my overall self-esteem. As difficult as it is, I want to be
believe the lack of interest was not because of me, but rather because
the content was not applicable. This leads me to my next concern...

Without doubt I presented the power of Twitter, blogs, and a PLN with
passion and heart. I showed concrete examples of how these tools can be
used by educators to grow and develop. I tried to provide specific
examples of how teachers can use these tools in their individual content
areas. I tried to inspire, motivate, encourage, and push these
educators to their limits...What could have possibly went wrong? How
would these PD sessions not be a huge success? What am I missing...?

I am currently in the process of reflecting upon these sessions and my
actions. I must be very clear here...I am not looking for sympathy or a
pity party, nor do I want anyone to feel sorry for me. This is the
natural process one must take to improve, to grow, and to evaluate
something that has been done. The process can be long, bumpy, and no
fun, but it is essential.

If teachers were turned off by the content being presented in my
session, then what could I have done to make it more applicable, and
what do I need to do to get people (re)interested? Did I have too much
passion and energy during the first session (we all know people get
scared off by crazy people!)? Did I scare people off by giving them too
much at one time (we all know we can only handle so much at one time)?
Were staff members just not ready to embrace these new technological
tools (we all know people are hesitant toward change)? The answers to
these questions are eluding me, and as I reflect I seem to be finding
more questions without answers.

I feel strongly about embracing social media (learning) as a powerful
tool toward growing and developing as an educator, and as such I want to
share this tool with others. I was fortunate enough to have someone
share this information with me, and I firmly believe in "paying it
forward." I just want my colleagues to understand I am not pushing an
agenda, nor am I getting any kickbacks for promoting social media as a
PD tool. I just want to help them like I was helped. Hopefully the
more I think and reflect, the sooner I will be able to find some
answers. I wish all of my fellow professional development directors,
coordinators, representatives, and any other educator working with PD
the best of luck. We are living in a Brave New World, and as society
continues to change, we will be expected to change. Good luck to all of
you.

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Tags: 2.0, and, development, education, educational, growth, professional, teacher, technology

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