Sunday, August 16, 2009


      In a previous piece I told you that my career spanned from 1958 to 1997. That length of time alone calls for Professional development activity (P.D. activity.) However, I took a one year teacher training course at Saskatchewan Teachers' College in Saskatoon in 1957-58. This program was designed to prepare people to take over a classroom and be independent. At that time most of the graduates would be teaching in a one room rural school so they had no supervision and no one to ask for advice. The program was excellent in practical terms but was out of date and obsolete as many of the one room schools were closing due to low enrolments.

      I taught in a one room school for my first year and the course served me well. I was very fortunate to teach in a district where the community gave me tremendous support. I then decided to attend university for one year as I had decided to stay with teaching.

      As time went on things had to change and I had to add to my skills. Here's where professional development came in. Professional development improved and many valuable sessions were available. Teachers' conventions and workshops were available. You could always pick something up to apply in your classroom. I needed something to keep me motivated and possibly make things more interesting for students.

      One of the more influential speakers was a Madeleine Hunter who had many practical strategies in lesson planning. Our district hired her several times and implemented her program. In this way the district was able to set up an excellent teacher evaluation system. Madeleine's program structured the lessons in several parts. As teachers, we were required to follow the plan. It really worked!

      Our district set up a professional development fund where teachers could access funds to attend a workshop of some kind every second year. Now some teachers did not like P.D. and did not access the funds. This is where I came in and helped everybody out . I applied every year and as a result got to attend sessions every year.

       One time my Dept. Head came to me and asked if I would like to attend a week long session. He pleaded being busy that week. Gullible me said ,"Sure! I'd like to go." It was the Quest program sponsored by the Lions Club and was designed to train teachers to teach the new health program that was about to be implemented. So I accidentally got myself assigned to teaching the new health program. The Quest program however could be adapted to any subject area . So I received a benefit all around.

      I found that P.D. kept me motivated and as a result I was able to be much happier and satisfied as I went about my teacher assignments.