Friday, January 04, 2008

It's over

As of 8 o'clock this morning, Christmas break was over.

Because we had to go in for an in-service.

You can only imagine the whining, complaining, and groaning that this caused. The kids come back on Monday, after having two full weeks off, but we had to go in today. wasn't all that bad. We had a presentation on rigor and relevance, new initiatives by The District, and some other stuff that was actually worth the time. Thank goodness because if it had been one of those workshops that we've all sat through where you think a needle in the eye would be an improvement, the staff may have actually revolted.

The best part, however, was that Mrs. Eagle, Mrs. Robin and I did not have to attend the afternoon sessions because we had made other plans, with the full blessing and approval of The Prinicpal, of course.

A month or so ago, Mrs. Eagle and I were at one of the monthly science teacher gatherings at the local university, something Mrs. Standard puts on so we can all get together and talk about fun new things like our standards changing, when we met up with some of our friends who also teach seventh grade science at two other middle schools in The District. We all began commiserating about how much we hate in-services and how much we'd rather just have time to meet and brainstorm and share good ideas. You know, collaborate? Not one of those forced collaboration meetings that they've tried before which end up being a complete waste of time because everyone has to be there and some people, no matter how much you push them, just will not work well with others. You can't force people to collaborate. Part of the secret to good collaboration is having people who trust each other enough to share ideas and who actually enjoy each other.

And we got to thinking. And Mrs. Eagle and I went to The Principal and asked her if we could have our other seventh grade science friends come over and we'd do some top-notch collaboration - sharing our Big Deal State Test review activities, share some of our good labs and activities that work, and so forth and so on.

And, because The Principal is a visionary and actually believes in the whole idea of collaboration, she said, "go for it".

So while everyone else was doing who knows what, we had three other teachers in my room and we worked together to come up with some good ideas for the next semester. It was awesome. We all walked away with great ideas that are proven in the classroom and that we can use to help our kids.

And we all agreed that we'd like to get together at least once again this semester to touch base and share any new information that we've picked up.

Now that, my friends, is a good in-service!


HappyChyck said...

"...the secret to good collaboration is having people who trust each other enough to share ideas and who actually enjoy each other." I totally agree with you on this. We have a love-hate relationship with collaboration at my school. It seems like when we need it we can't get enough time, yet other times we are forced to do it and we can't find the value. However, collaboration is not a buzz word at our school. It's just one of our good practices. I should be thankful for that, I suppose!

Mrs. T said...

Oooh, rigor and relevance- buzz words in our district, too. Ironic, then, that they seem to keep dumbing everything down....

Yay you on doing your own collaboration!

Hope you had a wonderful break!

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

Gee, our staff development days usually just stink. And since Angry Little Elf retired, we can't even play Profanity Bingo any more, so there's no entertainment value whatsoever.

Good for you and your administration on being able to break out of the darn box.