Teach Tip Tuesday: Find your driftwood

Professional development is a big investment that schools make in their staff. Whether it is for their own personal development or to assist in the development of school programs the cost can be a significant portion of the school budget and we all want a slice of it.

Sometimes PD that we are sent on leaves us feeling refreshed, insightful and ready to tackle the task head on and other times it is hard to work out why you bothered to write supervisions for your class.

When the PD is great there is not much to be said. You naturally go back and spread the word with your colleagues to hold on to the motivation that you felt during the PD. But what happens when it didn’t hit the mark, you didn’t get it and your asking yourself why you were there and what you were meant to get out of it. What then?

In my teaching career I have attended numerous PD’s and not all of them have been fantastic and often I would lament in my staffroom about why I bothered. This changed for me last year at Rescon Aus 2018, where one of the keynote speakers talked about driftwood.

How does driftwood relate to PD? Let me explain……

(See the original story here)

Teaching is an art form and just like any artist we are continually searching for our new inspirations, our new focuses. A good artist knows that collecting small items from your travels and adventures can inspire new works in the future or right now. They also know that you can never bring home the whole place that you visited and each thing that you collect represents something about the place that you visited.

Just like an artist at every PD that you attend whether it be good or bad there are little pieces of driftwood that you can collect and as long as you come away with one piece of driftwood the PD was a success. That piece of driftwood might not be particularly useful right now but in the future may be the key piece that you need to convince someone to get your project off the ground or even to finish your project.

While often I think about my driftwood as tid bits of information that I file away for future use or add to my bank of interesting things to know; sometimes the driftwood is not an item at all but is a new person to add to a network. Forming new networks and reconnecting with previous networks is often the most valuable part of any PD and maybe they picked up a great piece of driftwood they can share too.

The message to take away here is that at the end of each PD reflect on what new piece of driftwood you found to add to your collection and your school will be rewarded by their investment in you.

What was your latest piece of driftwood?


About cmcaton

I am a Secondary Teacher and Head of Department Mathematics in Education Queensland. I am passionate about the development of pedagogy that engages the 21st century student and love to explore their implementation in the classroom. Disclaimer: The thoughts on this page are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.
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