Three Weeks of Inservice! Where Did it Go?

Three weeks of inservice.  Poof! Gone!

I shouldn’t complain.  Especially since I’ve never had more than a whole day of inservice before.

For those who don’t know, inservice programs are provided for teachers to close shop, get together, discuss how things have gone, how things can improve, and start to implement those strategies.  Inservice has become a much broader thing nowadays, where teachers have opportunities for professional development trainings, time to clean out classrooms and transition to new rooms, or just simply get a classroom ready for a new group of children.

In other words, inservice usually comprises of two things: a really boring training, and half a day of hectic, nonstop, sweat till you drop cleaning.  Considering that you only get one day to do it, it’s a once-in-a-year opportunity to clean out the teacher closet which was supposed to hold games and manipulatives, but now holds the rain boots, extra sheets, wipes, the beads that fell all over the floor, and the laundry basket.

It’s usually a one day thing.

We had three weeks.  It was not, however, any less hectic.

So where did the time go? (The following is just a list of what happened.  Feel free to scroll down to my reflections about the inservice)

  • Well, it all started with a 6 hour orientation.  Helen Gordon is a big place with a lot going on, so we toured the school, learned who people were and their roles, and learned about the history and philosophy of the program.
  • The next day was a 6 hour First Aid/CPR training.  6 HOURS!
  • We had brunch the next week at our director’s home.  Which was great!  It was a good time to socialize with people who I might not socialize with normally at or outside of work.
  • Then we got together for a discussion about our school’s BIG IDEA which is a whole post in and of itself.  This was the first time I got to hear my coworkers speak about the work that we do, and it made me nervous to speak out myself.  I always thought I was articulate and passionate about my work, but this is a place where EVERYONE is articulate and passionate.
  • We got together for a Wing Meeting, which was a gathering of the preschool teachers (as opposed to the transition or Infant/Toddler wings) to have a meeting about some upcoming events, and discuss ideas to improve certain aspects of our inservice.
  • We had mini sessions which were optional sessions to learn more about a particular subject.  I attended a work shop on clay, communicating with student teachers, and a session on our new woodworking shop.
  • We had a student teacher orientation where a coworker and I shared a power point presentation on language and interacting with children.
  • We had family meetings where we had opportunities to meet families individually and get to know them and their children before the school year started.  It also gave us an opportunity for families to get to know us.
  • There was an orientation for families which was a short classroom session the day before school so that families could meet each other.
  • There was another meeting where we spoke about a study in gender that we will pursue as a wing for the year.
  • There was a group meeting about our shared spaces to discuss what worked, what didn’t work, what could be improved, and then committees were formed for each shared space.
  • We had an epi-pen training.
  • We had a two day training in Positive Discipline which has caused me to take a very serious look at PBIS and added clarity to why I wasn’t fully on board with PBIS, but that’s another post.
  • The lead teachers had an opportunity to meet their student teachers beforehand to discuss how the classroom would be run.
  • Meanwhile, the teachers cleaned out the classrooms for new teachers like myself, teachers got together to set up environments, individualize the room for their group of children, and then do all the requisite “normal” inservice stuff like setting up cubbies, laying out materials, and cleaning out closets.

So three weeks of inservice? Poof! Gone!  It was a whirlwind and a time of great reflection and discussion.

My head was spinning the whole time.  There was always something to go to, something to think about, something that required careful planning, or something that kept getting pushed aside.

The best part of inservice though?  Getting to know the other Helen Gordon teachers.  I feel like I have already been welcomed so openly, and I feel I have made more meaningful relationships in the last few weeks than I have in years since moving to Portland.

They are all so uniquely talented in this profession.  Each teacher brings with them some incredibly useful talent and incorporates it into their practice.  I aspire to be like my cohorts.

I took a lot away from the inservice, and learned a lot about myself.  I was thankful we had as much time as we did, it just really shows how Helen Gordon CDC understands what it takes for teachers to be successful.

Scratch that.  Helen Gordon CDC understands what it takes for the children to be successful.

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2 Responses

  1. Maggie says:

    We feel so fortunate that our child is in this program and grateful that he has a thoughtful and talented teacher like you.

  2. Teacher David says:

    Thank you so much. I honestly believe that any success (or failure for that matter) we have in the classroom is attributed to everyone involved. We could never achieve anything without the support of great families like the ones we have.

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