Last week, four out of the five working week days I spent on Professional Development. The first three days I spent over in Masterton, the Principals and Directors of Religious Education of Wellinton Catholic schools were attending a seminar run by Elio Caprio, from Australia. The first two days were mainly about keeping the catholic character of our schools alive and having a sense of the sacred in the hurly burly of every day living.
To be truthful I don't remember very much of it, but I did come away from it feeling more enthusiastic. The presenter was Italian, although he has been in Australia for many years. What I particularly liked was his sense of humour and the many jokes and comedy videos he shared. He also had a appreciation of artworks and Michael Leunig cartoons. All of which made for a pleasant few days.
The third morning we had a different presenter sharing with us how to present the story of Zacheus in a million and one ways. Well it seemed like a million and one! Anyway it was very good and some day I hope I can use some of it.
Thursday I spent teaching. Trying to grasp where I had left off and where I needed to pick up! Glimpsing over what my relief teacher had taught while I was away, I was delighted to see it was so relevant and gave up any small guilt still lingering for being away.
Friday I attended a meeting for the local Deputy and Assistant Prinipals. They meet regularly once a term in our local area. The first presentation by a local DP was on dyslexia. She had attended a workshop run by Neil Mackay from England. Her summary of this workshop was excellent and I picked up some tips that were helpful. I came away more aware of little things that can help. Over the years I have had a number of dyslexic students. It is always a challenge to support their learning and it is something I enjoy doing.
In the afternoon we had J Allen from the Ministry of Education. She spoke passionately about focussing on student learning and lifting achievement. She also listened to the comments we had about the professional development we had had for the new national standards. When we voiced our dissatisfaction with it, she asked us to list them and send them into her. As she said they are putting in considerable taxpayer money (and that's me and you) into the professional development. Our last part of the day was spent doing just that.
Next week I have a full week of teaching!!! However it's week 10 and I feel enthusiastic. Normally at this part of the term I am wilting. With a good heart I spent 3hrs prep time this Sunday morning. A change is as good as a holiday.