About two years ago the Ministry of Education in Ontario did a really wonderful thing by giving teachers self-directed PD days to use. The concept was simple: take some time and learn what you need to learn. I’d be lying if I said that all teachers used this as a chance to learn, but I certainly made the most of those days.
As I took a long ride home after a PD session with Roy Fernandes and Eric Démoré this week, something really got stuck in my brain. I would love to have a chance to work with both of them some more. We work in opposite ends of the city. Eric teaches high school, and Roy is a principal, so the odds of us collaborating are pretty slim… But what if there was a mechanism in place that would encourage in person, face to face collaboration? What if the self directed PD model could be tweaked slightly to encourage collaboration? What if we had days that we could give each other so that we could co-teach for the day?
The concept is relatively simple. Teachers would be given days to use; however, their days would be used to bust other educators out of their schools for the day. For instance, I could give my coded day to Eric or Roy so that either could come by my school and co-teach with me. Unused codes would disappear. No harm, no foul.
Seems like a simple way for the Ministry and the Board to show that they value teacher collaboration as a means of professional development.