About Me

My photo
I taught for several years at a residential school for children with emotional disabilities before staying home after the birth of my second daughter. I returned to teaching, finished my Educational Leadership program in May of 2012, and now work as our district's Writing and Social Studies Coordinator. I have always loved writing and find constant inspiration from my family. Maybe someday, I will get to see my name on the cover of a book!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bad PD Dreams

During March, I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. Bloggers from around the world are posting daily, committed to the practice of sharing, reflecting, remembering...writing! Feel free to stop by this incredible March happening and check out other posts or even join in--there's no rule that says you have to start on March 1st!

Last week, I woke up several times between 4 and 6 on the morning that I was to lead our second-grade teachers through a new writing unit. I was conjuring up every complication the corners of my brain could conjure. Maybe it was because the karma around this PD was a little shaky-- this was the fourth time this meeting had been re-scheduled because of snow days. (We have had six snow days and three were on days when I had scheduled PD for second-grade teachers! December 17, January 3, and February 5 are all days that the cancellation emails came through, canceling not only school, but also my PD sessions!!) Maybe my anxiety began germinating during the PD that I had the day before when the video wouldn't play correctly--I don't know why that surprised me since the videos NEVER seem to play properly in our schools these days. But there was more to my dreams...
  • the ELMO would not focus. Would not even turn on, in fact.
  • I could not find ANY of the materials that I had written as demonstration texts.
  • When I did find them, they were on crumpled post-its and the person who had come in to help with the ELMO swept them into the garbage can.
  • Everyone got up and milled around and some even walked out as I was talking. 
It's funny how dreams are--even as I write this, I am remembering more of the details with growing clarity...
  • There was a staff developer in the room from TC, but she just sat there. why didn't she say something, add something, FIND MY WRITING SAMPLES??? I said to her that I couldn't find my writing samples and she just nodded and shrugged. (Please know that our TC staff developers are some of my favorite people EVER, and they would never, ever leave me struggling!!!)
Donalyn Miller wrote that real writers write what matters to them. (If you need another blog post to read, I highly recommend this post!) I am writing about what matters to me. These sessions matter to me. So much that I still get nervous before them, going over and over that I have the right materials that will help, support, and engage teachers, that my timing will be as constructive as possible, that I will balance the delivery of information with the opportunities to digest and collaborate and ask questions, that teachers will walk away feeling excited and ready to try something new in their classrooms. That I'll be funny. That we will all laugh and learn--isn't that the best, when laughter comes along with learning?

My PD session went fine. The ELMO focused, the video worked, the teachers were excited to teach the unit, and we even laughed a couple of times. And, I went to bed early!


  1. I have crazy dreams too! They are exhausting! :0)

    No doubt it was a fantastic PD!

  2. I had a bad school dream last week. I was in charge of an assembly and for some reason, there were adults and office type desks all over the stage. I set my papers down and they were lost on one of the desks. The assembly went just fine. I am sure your PD will be just fine, too.

  3. Why is that we can stand in front of a group of critics on a daily basis without blinking an eye, but when we are placed in front of our colleagues, we panic? I can completely relate to your pre-PD anxiety. Thanks for sharing; I'm glad all went well.

  4. When you care, as you do, you want to make an impact, you want THIS PD to be meaningful. But, I am sure all went well, Melanie, and I look forward to reading all about it!

  5. I imagine it was wonderful, but oh the dreams. Just as Tara said, it's because you care so much, want it to be so right. It's so nice for you to share. Hope you also share some of the high points of what you taught.

  6. I am always nervous before PD sessions. Just like the first day of school every time.

  7. I'm glad all went well for you. My last PD session I had a video that worked fine for one group, the next group the LCD projector was dead. Oh well, you just have to carry on.

  8. Although I don't think I've ever had a bad dream about one, I still get nervous about PD sessions, too. Glad to hear it went well!