Today's guest post is written by PJ Caposey. PJ is the Superintendent of the Meridian School District in Illinois and an ASCD Emerging Leader.
Raise your hand if you've sat through a poorly done professional learning activity that could not end soon enough.
Raise your hand if you have sat through a well-done professional learning activity that did not reach you because you simply had too many other things on your mind.
Raise your hand if you've sat through a well-done professional learning activity that may have made a difference for some teachers, but did not address your grade level, content area, or current professional needs.
I visualize that everyone reading this (metaphorically) has their hand raised at this point. Now imagine having to attend such a professional learning activity for multiple hours every weekday for forty straight weeks. Can you even fathom such a harrowing experience? Unfortunately, this is quite possibly how many of our students feel.
I feel bad for my students because, although I would have had my hand raised for all three scenarios above, it never occurred to me that my students could feel the same way about my (riveting, I am sure) lectures about Ethnographic studies of society. The power, and need, of and for differentiation came to me once I became a building and district leader. Four vital lessons about differentiation I learned as a leader are directly applicable to any educational leader or teacher.