This week I’m attending a College Board AP Summer Institute in preparation for AP Literature next year. The speaker is great. He’s knowledgeable, and I am learning some new strategies and techniques on how to help my students be more successful in literary analysis. Unlike typical professional development, I chose to attend this. Most professional development prior to the school year goes something like Socrates Underground writes about here.
For the most part, I have enjoyed the last two days–except now I’m noticing some PD characters emerging. If you’re a teacher, I’m quite sure you’re familiar with these types:
1. The Rabbit Hunter. This person will lead the group on numerous pointless rabbit trails. If you are lucky, the presenter will notice this and quickly recover the group. However, more often than not, the presenter will follow the Rabbit Hunter down the hole and take the whole group with him. Today, we hunted the following rabbits: Arnold Schwarzenegger and The Last Action Hero, the charisma of Ian McKellen, and Kenneth Branaugh’s love life.
2. The Know-It-All. This person typically knows more than the presenter…well, at least she thinks she does. She constantly adds her take to whatever point the presenter is trying to make. With the Know-It-All, if you so much as try to speak before her, she will run you over with her words. I have admittedly been this person, but not this week. There are already five of this particular person in my group. Between them and the others on this list, no one else can talk.
3. The Ditz. Wow. Seriously?!? We’re adults… who are teachers… How does this person still exist in the adult world?!? He or she will giggle at every witty comment the presenter makes and asks ridiculous questions. Incidentally, this person will often use Comic Sans font on handouts.
4. The Class Clown. This person continually makes jokes throughout the presentation. At first, it is endearing, and every one loves him, but soon his wit become tiresome. By the end of the day, you want him to shut up so the presenter can dismiss you.
5. The Questioner. This person asks questions at every given opportunity. Questions themselves are not bad, but the questioner always asks a question answered by the presenter two minutes ago, OR the questioner will ask questions unrelated to the topic at hand. Often in boring PD meetings, I will tally how many times the questioner asks a question during a presentation. It helps pass the time.
Looking over the list, it’s not too different than the characters that emerge in my high school classes. I would like to think as adults we’ve changed. Maybe we don’t change as much as we think…