Administrators in Mei Flower's district, having decided that teachers needed just half a day of classroom preparation before the onslaught of classes, planned a half-day inservice "pep rally" for the afternoon. The program included such standards as the Pledge of Allegiance ("This went well. We all knew the words.") and an address by the local union president, plus "special" fare like a slideshow from the previous year ("I already lived through last year, thanks, let's move on.") and local kids singing a medley of Broadway show tunes ("I don't understand why we had a concert forced upon us when we could have been preparing for our classes which we start when? Oh, TOMORROW.") By that time, Mei Flower explains, everyone was more than ready to leave. But instead, they were treated to a "professional speaker"—a lawyer with enunciation problems:

...for a "Professional Speaker" our guy had very poor articulation. This, coupled with a meager sound system and the horrible acoustics that all gymnasiums have, reduced the man's speech to (approximately), "Hibbedy gibbedy." I seriously had no idea what he was saying, so I was not motivated at all...Well, in truth, I was motivated to take out a piece of paper, write RANDOM COUNTY SCHOOLS at the top, and find as many words as I could using just those letters. I challenged myself and used words with four letters or more, but I still filled up the whole page and that guy was still talking.

All we can say is that there's a reason for the similarities in the terms "inservice" and "serving time."


This is so typical - they do it every year in our district and oh, joy, joy, I just got the letter with the schedule for the Rah! day. Thankfully, though I would rather be in my classroom preparing, I have to be in traffic court on the day of our district rally. Honestly. I've been dying for a good excuse to miss it and believe it or not, the speeding ticket was my blessing! Seriously, I feel bad for Mei because at least we get 3 days total, 1 to work, 1 for building meetings, and 1 for the district stuff. Hope you all have a great new crew of kids!

Ah, I have this beat -- in Seattle, we use the baseball stadium -- the one that was built in the years when there was no money for teacher raises -- and hold a big back to school rally. Fortunately it's optional. Many go. It's the only way they can afford to get in, what with baseball ticktets so pricey.

We usually get three days of "professional development" before school starts. One year, our district filled the first two days with meetings (8am - 4pm). We did get the morning of the third day in our classrooms. The afternoon of the 3rd day, they brought in a VERY expensive, so-called motivational speaker who made us all stand and sing the old Kenny Rogers tune, "You Picked A Fine Time to Leave Me Lucille" (all the verses).

As a retired teacher who had to endure endless first day of school inservices, I can sympathize with all the frustration. Here in Georgia, we've started school so early (late July!!!) that staying awake through heat stroke and humidity are challenge enough. Any work done setting up a classroom tends to be 'undone' by things curling up and falling off the walls and trailers being added. I think I'm supposed to call those mobile classrooms of higher learning.

Upon retiring, I decided with some colleagues to create inservices that actually had something to do with getting ready for school...NOT just a pep rally. Since we all have to have those meetings at the beginning of the year, why not have a speaker in who is entertaining, but also fresh from the front lines and a motivational moderator...guiding dialogue that the administrators and teachers are involved in. It's hard to lead a staff development training when you know that people would rather be in their classrooms planning...so we've built a training session that centers around planning, goals for the year (both individual and school wide). We've had comments from thousands of people who work in all parts of North America tell us that this is the way to do it...and as a person who has now been on both sides of the stage, I have to say it's alot better than somebody with a podium and a powerpoint.

Check out The School House Blues Band and enjoy an inservice that actually serves!!! www.truedatproductions.com

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Recent Comments

  • tired of dis-service during inservice: As a retired teacher who had to endure endless first read more
  • Renee Moore: We usually get three days of "professional development" before school read more
  • Kelly: Ah, I have this beat -- in Seattle, we use read more
  • suzanne: This is so typical - they do it every year read more




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