During one of the first professional development (PD) days for my district at the beginning of the school year, I worked with several teachers and had several conversations. Some were just typical teacher banter expected at the first full PD day of the new school year, but one particular comment stood out the moment it was uttered. It continues to crop up in my mind at random moments. It stirs my oppositional defiant mojo each and every time. I don't recall the specific wording, but while discussing the "new" collaboration methods our principal used on us as a demonstration, this particular teacher, an experienced teacher near retirement, said something like: I'm there to teach. Students are there to learn.
The constant struggle faced by many school districts regarding professional development generally leads to a discussion of how to bring teachers the professional development they need, tailored specifically for each of them. It's quite the tug-o-war. All District PD days generally lead to frustration by staff because their individual needs are not met, they are not given time for processing and reflecting on what was presented, and there's certainly no time for applying what was learned if by the smallest chance it did actually fill a need for some teachers.
Oprah Winfrey talked about the ultimate bite on her show a long time ago, and a friend of mine recently introduced the quote to me at a conference while we were eating lunch. According to Oprah, the ultimate bite can be achieved when you make sure to include a bit of everything from your plate that goes together in one bite. One ultimate bite.
I've been teaching for over 20 years, so there are a lot of things I used to do that I no longer do for various reasons. Most of these are systems or procedures that I put in place to help me cope during the first few years of teaching. My father was an outstanding educator, and when I started teaching, he was an elementary principal, though the majority of his teaching had been at the high school level. This did mean that I had the very best resource a beginning teacher could possibly have at my fingertips.