Lately most of my work has been dedicated to the planning and preparation of professional development offerings and attending trainings. I wish I had been trained on the effective planning and presentation of professional development because it’s pretty much like thinking you know what people want to learn, then getting there and realizing that you guessed wrong. If I have made many copies then only a few people attend, and if I don’t make very many, then the whole world and their mothers show up.
I have been assisting in the planning of a PD to present this week and I think I know what the main presenter wants, but then I worry – what if I misunderstood? What if I plan activtities that we don’t have enough time for? What if I don’t have enough information or the attendees have questions that I can’t answer? I have a nagging feeling of inadequacy, no matter how much I prepare. I can’t quote experts’ names and research findings off the top of my head. I can’t create charts out of thin air on educational practices and processes.
I guess it would be better to look at it with a growth mindset and focus on what I can do and consider how I can improve my skills in order to feel confident about presenting PDs. I have improved tremendously since last year after practicing in more comfortable situations at my school site, assisting the technology department, and helping with trainings of new teachers and employees. I know that I can also ensure a better chance of success by overplanning and preparing, doing more research than I might feel I need, and going in with a positive attitude and open mind. I have been teaching for 17 years now, so I should probably have some skills that would help me in any of the situations I’m worrying about.
It’s not so much that I’m afraid to speak in public – I do have some anxiety about that, but mostly it’s the feeling of not knowing as much as the other coaches since I have so much respect for them and see that they are so knowledgeable about their specialty areas.