By Billy Riggs
A recent article in Education Week Magazine (by Sarah Schwartz, May 15, 2019) reports that the most profound emotion that educational in-service speakers evoke in teachers is… wait for it… disrespect. Wow! All that planning, work, and money invested by school districts in Professional Development days is often not only wasted, but transformed into a net negative. Teachers feel like they’ve been slapped in the face. This outcome doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been conducting teacher in-services for more than two decades and frequently hear afterwards: “That was the first in-service of my career that actually helped me, or that I even paid attention to.” One teacher even commented that her usual habit (and silent protest) during professional development sessions was to take out her phone and play “Angry Birds” the whole time, but that she never even thought about doing so during my presentation. The Education Week article was actually emailed to me by an educator who wanted me to see it, commenting, “Yours was the best I’ve ever heard.” Why are most in-services a waste of time or “agony” as one teacher told me?
Mandatory seminars and credentialed speakers rarely touch on subjects of interest or import to educators. Instead, they pontificate on subjects irrelevant to their work or too esoteric to be of any practical use in the classroom. Others deliver information that most of the teachers have already known for many years. Moreover, they often violate the very best-practices they preach: using poor grammar, speaking to their slides, not reading their audiences, standing motionless while talking in a monotone, spinning hypotheses without ever applying them to real life, etc. Worse still, they commit the cardinal sin of being boring. (If a boring teacher doesn’t teach the students anything, how can we reasonably expect a boring speaker to teach the teachers anything?)
Professional Development training must – at the risk of stating the obvious – accomplish two things:
About Billy Riggs: Billy Riggs has been called “The Dr. Phil of Magic,” and “a psychologist masquerading as a comedian and magician.” He was voted one of America’s Top Five Most Entertaining Speakers in a 2014 nationwide poll of conference attendees. As a highly skilled orator Billy moves audiences to action with his message of hope and inspiration. Add in his talent as a master magician, illusionist, and spellbinding entertainer, and he delivers a presentation that audiences will remember long after the event ends. Billy’s presentations change lives, improve attitudes, turbocharge sales, and inspire exceptional service. Through television, radio, books, videos, and live keynote speeches Billy continues to spread his message and currently more than a million people on five continents have benefited from his work. Billy starred in his own television special, “The Magic of Attitude.” For fees and availability for Billy, email Gina Davilla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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