28 October 2009

100 Issues for 100 Days: #73

#73: The Power of Play

Today I had to attend a workshop on the "power of play" for my professional development. The workshop was definitely informative and there were some important techniques that I took away from it, but I had two major qualms about it:
1) although the recess and afterschool (read: ancillary) staff were required to attend teachers were not.
2) part of the reason we were required was because the school paid a lot for the training. Money that frankly could have been put to better use if more people weren't going to required to attend.

One of my biggest problems with education is that although we've made great strides in valuing students and even parents in the educational process, teachers are continually shafted (ultimately to the detriment of the student and families). For instance, even though our students have this week off, teachers are here from 8 am - 5 pm for parent meetings and professional development. In some ways, it's nice to have time in the building when students aren't here to plan, strategize and organize but essentially, some time should be devoted to leaving this space, taking a break and coming back ready to push forward into the hardest teaching months (November, December, January and February). I don't know many educators who really ever turn their brains off when it comes to work but not even being given the opportunity to is extremely detrimental.

Similarly, little things like providing snacks or lunches to faculty is appreciated. Just like students can't learn without eating it's also hard to teach when you're running on empty. And some days when you have to hold a student back or run from supervising to a meeting, there isn't always time to go off0campus to grab something or even prepare leftovers or lunch in the morning.

Today in the workshop someone brought up that it's just as powerful for adults to have time in our days to be creative or "playful" like it is for the students. So how did we get so far away from a simple activity that keeps us balanced? My plan is to definitely use this weekend to play. Otherwise it'll be a very cranky winter.

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