The wonderful Kathleen Sokolowski has asked us teachers to share their ideas about professional development. After thinking about this for awhile, I realized that my "Perfect PD" already exists:
* Choice: For me, EdCamps are the perfect PD option because I can choose the topics that are most meaningful to me and my teaching. What works for one person, might not work for another. Having the flexibility to choose what I want to learn is a definite plus. It also honors me and my experience and knowledge as a professional.
* Teachers Teaching Teachers: School districts are filled with experts on many different topics -- on their own payroll. Why not tap into that knowledge by having them share what they know with a larger audience within their own school or district?
* Timing: Many EdCamps take place over the summer or in the winter or spring, once the craziness of the beginning of the school year has begun to settle. For me, it is difficult to sit still and focus in a PD session in August when I am itching to get my classroom set up and be ready for my students.
Other non-EdCamp thoughts on PD:
* I learn best by doing. Sitting and listening or by following along in a manual doesn't always work for me. Just as I like to change things up in my classroom to keep the kids moving and learning in different ways, I appreciate the same. Hands on, take-this-back-and use-it right-away PD is a bonus!
* I want there to be a follow up plan. How will the PD topic work in my classroom/school/district? I need to see the connection. Like Kathleen said, "not 'one and done' where the topic is never brought up again." If you are going to bring in a speaker to talk about makerspaces, I sure hope that means that we will be developing makerspaces in our schools in the near future.
We have recently held three EdCamps in my school and district as professional development. All three were positively received by staff. I highly recommend that you be the driving force behind bringing an EdCamp to your school or district. It is so worth it!