Sunday, June 27

Professional Development Race




I did it.  I didn’t think I could, but I did it. 
In the state of Pennsylvania, we are given five years to complete 180 credits/hours of continuing Professional Education.  This is my second time doing this and I should have known better to wait as long as I did.  (The deadline is this coming Wednesday, so I made it by three days.)

During the first time I had to do this, my school provided workshops and I earned 90 credit/hours quite easily.  Then, I finished the second 90 on my own.  I found on-line courses that I could take for free and met the requirement.

I wasn’t so fortunate this time.  My school only provided two courses in five years.  One was on “Handwriting without Tears,” which gave me 5.5 hours.  (That one was torture!) The second one was a character education course, which while interesting, no one in the school chose to use.  (That one gained me 3.00 hours.)  I work in a small private school, and we were basically told, “You are on your own.”  At the beginning of this month, I needed 171.5 hours.  Yep, panic time!

As a person who is compulsively organized, never late and always submits things early, this is completely out of character for me.  In my own defense, I did have the most challenging class this year (which I loved), sole responsibility for the yearbook, and the job of school photographer/videographer for the school website.  And, Pennsylvania wanted me to keep on learning? 

The good news is my school year ends the first week of June.  My challenge was to sign up for as many online courses as possible and get moving.  I did check out possible ways to extend the deadline, but I was only going to do that if absolutely necessary.  I have to admit, I wanted to see if I could pull this off.

For the last three and a half weeks, I have been taking courses on:
Connecting Reading and Writing
Differentiated Small Group Instruction
Developing Independent Readers
Effective Strategies Supporting Language Arts Instruction
Coaching
Teaching in the 21st Century

I filled four binders, used two reams of paper and more printer ink than I can really afford.  (Oh, and the binders were the three inch size.)  The end result was an amazing collection of articles and work that I did.  And, I even learned quite a bit.  Was this the best way to do this?  Absolutely not.  Do I take responsibility for not managing my time better?  YES!  Am I grateful that I can read super-fast and process information so quickly?  You bet! 

In the midst of this, “Oh my… I will never finish.  Keep going.  You can do it!”  panic time,  I did write a few blogs and take a Twitter break.  When I re-read those blogs, I seem a little cranky.   Ahhh, now it all makes sense. 

This morning on the Pennsylvania Department of Education portal, it says I completed 188.50 credit/hours.  (I was determined to exceed the goal.) Now that I’m finished doing my happy dance, I can breathe.  Would I do it this way again?  I don’t think so.  Granted, it was my fault, but I like to learn and this felt more like a race. 

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