Professional Thursdays

I am sick of not getting the time at school to really reflect and share with my colleagues what we are doing, discussing new ideas, read articles, discuss the Common Core (Aðalnámskrá in Icelandic) or read and discuss that research that just came out.

After I was done teaching I went to lunch with my students. Then I worked on things that had to be done before the next day, printed out, charged the iPad’s, looked at new apps, attended faculty meeting, planned units, answered phone calls and e-mails, spoke with parents & filled in paperwork.

There was no time during the school day to meet the other professionals in the building. Our offices are our classrooms. We stay in there to do our work because that is where my computer was so It was easier for me to connect with my PLN (Personal learning network) on twitter than my PND (Professionals next door).

So at the end of last school year I spoke with my principal about an idea I had and want to see get started next fall.
What I suggested, and I think other schools (teachers) can do as well, was that we held Professional Thursdays from 3.30-4.00 p.m. every week. We’d have a topic of the week and professionals at the school could attend and discuss. They didn’t need to show up, you didn’t get “brownie points”, you were just there if you wanted to share and receive. The people I spoke with about this idea were very interested in the concept and want to see this happen.

This is how I see it plan out:

  • We’d start by getting a group of 3-4 professionals together to be in charge of this, not necessarily just teacher, but all of staff (our student counselor, special ed. and others).
  • This group would get ideas from other staff members on issues/topics they’d like to discuss and put together a plan. They’d find a topic and have a staffmember be in charge of that discussion and finding material.
  • On friday we’d send out an e-mail to the entire faculty and tell them about the topic of next weeks meeting. Along with that we would send a video/article/research or something that had to do with that topic so people could read about it beforehand so they’d know at least a little bit about it. (No test on whether or not you read it, just a choice).
  • Every Thursday at 3.30 p.m. we’d meet at a predetermined classroom for our professional Thursday. It would take no more than 30 minutes.
  • They’d spend the first 10 minutes going over the topic, 10 minutes discussing in groups (and tweeting about their findings), 10 minutes to explain to the others.
  • After this is over their conversation will continue on Twitter using the schools #hashtag and their #discussion hashtag.

I strongly believe this would be a great way to get staff members engaged, no pressure… the ones that can’t be there or don’t want to, don’t have to. It’s optional which means only the interested people will show up and therefore participate.

Ingvi Hrannar


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