10 Things Teachers Dislike About PD

As someone who delivers a truckload of PD each year, I would be wise to know what negatively triggers my audience to want to throw a shoe at me. Thankfully, I came across a tweet that asked educators what they wanted in PD and the replies were golden. Thanks to Val for getting people talking!

Yes, plenty of people answered the question as asked…but many others were very clear of what they disliked about PD experiences. So here’s a compilation of some that stood out to me. May they guide and help others who are tasked with teaching teachers.

PS: It was slightly painful going through this list because I am my very best critic and know that I have made many blunders while designing and delivering PD. In a way, writing this blog served as PD for me.

10 Things Teachers Hate About PD

  1. Irrelevance – that’s why personalized options and choices are important. If the audience is broad, the topic will need to be broad as well.

2. Lack of Collaborative Opportunities – If in a room with real-life humans, let them do human things and talk to one another. If it’s just a one-way talk, perhaps it should have been asynchronous.

3. Death by Powerpoint – This one came up MANY times. I was surprised that this is still a go-to choice for PD for many presenters.

4. Feeling Lost/Insulted – Clarity prevents chaos. Educators want some order to the madness. And nothing kills a session like handing out insults publicly.

5. Feeling overwhelmed, not empowered. – This can happen when the agenda is too long and too technical. Most of my audiences do not want to know the ins and outs of OBS broadcasting software. Know your audience. Everyone in attendance needs a win. So make it practical and empowering.

6. Disorganization – There should be a flow and time-limits on aspects of the PD. Go old school with an egg timer if needed. I like Rebecca’s recipe for good PD: Engage, Teach, Practice Time.

7. Boring – Mr. D has been to a few snoozers in his lifetime. Regardless of what the topic is, be purposeful about engagement and interaction.

8. Ice Breakers – Ha! So many EDU’s really hate ice breakers. If doing an ice breaker, be sure that it’s a vital part of your mission.

9. No Proof Or Examples of Implementation – Pat needs to see the pudding…you know, the proof’s in the pudding. If you want people’s eye’s to light up and really pay attention, showcase a teacher actually using the product/strategy. Better yet, show student responses.

10. Just Checking Boxes – Unfortunately, this is a real thing happening all over the place. Most people would refer to it as compliance training. If a district/school is requiring this type of PD, it needs to be genuine.