I’ve seen several cartoon popping up in the last week regarding the back-to-school marathon…teacher in-service and how much teachers dread the beginning of school. In-service is depicted as being boring, useless, irrelevant, and generally a waste of time, while teachers apparently hate their job and hate students and yet still choose to return to the classroom next week. I find these types of cartoons sad.
You see, my teacher in-service is really good. We went back last Wednesday, and while some of the mandatory sessions aren’t as riveting as the latest Kick-Ass sequel (although the safety video this year did feature zombies), most classes I attend are very interesting. Today I sat in on a discussion of multiple intelligences, connected my personal device to our new BYOD wi-fi (Bring Your Own Device), and got a free wireless keyboard and mouse when I learned how to install software on my classroom PC. At lunch I learned how to get deer out of my garden (technically not part of in-service…), and my last session of the day was taught one of our Spanish teachers on how to organize my classroom “Like I’m OCD.” I’m hoping she’ll do a guest blog post for me. I also taught a class on Prezis that would have gone better if everyone could have actually logged into the computer lab.
I’m not sure how larger districts do in-service, but I like how we do it. Our faculty submit various course ideas in the spring and then teach them to each other in the fall, which I find very refreshing. All the campuses have in-service at the high school, so I get to interact with teachers from the other schools in the district. It promotes shared practices, which I know not every school encourages. Also, when I teach I get the free district polo, and I love free t-shirts. I’m not sure I’ll ever shake that part of my college self. We also were given the option of taking classes earlier this summer or online, and we can trade out those hours for time to work in our classroom.
Since we’re in a small community, the first day of in-service feels like a little fair; vendors come from all over town and set up tables in the cafeteria and hallways. Many of the owners are parents; an owner of a local coffee shop came up to tell me how much her son loved my class last year, which was so sweet. While I sample homemade fudge and jerky and order Scentsy for my classroom and pick up coupons and enjoy the lunch provided by one of the local clubs, I feel like I’m part of a community…which is hard when I’m a military spouse who moves so frequently. Despite today being very busy, and the prospect of being very busy until…June, I’m feeling pretty blessed today. And my view is backed by research.