Last Thursday’s faculty professional development day began with jazz music and Plutarch’s maxim: “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be lit.” Program developer and presenter Harry Pickens energized teachers for the new school year, reminding educators that the goal of teaching is more than filling students’ minds with knowledge; it’s about teaching them to become independent thinkers and self-sustaining learners. “Harry Pickens gave professional development a breath of new life with his musical talents and upbeat personality,” said middle school math teacher Brenna Bretscher.
The day-long gathering included discussions regarding productivity and performance, writing exercises, and group sessions that harkened teachers back to relatable student moments. Teachers identified personal strengths and how they can use those strengths to make the greatest positive impact and contribution to The Miami Valley School in the upcoming year.
Commercials and skits also played a role in the day’s professional development. Clips from The Foundation for a Better Life, portraying patience and encouragement, showed the different values that teachers can instill in their students. Teachers also collaborated with one another in small groups and performed skits that demonstrated The Miami Valley School’s new core values: integrity, celebration, grit, and kindness. “It was refreshing to witness the many talents of colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere,” said Bretscher.
Educators were encouraged to think about all the factors that will make the 2012-2013 school year successful. “Starting with the end in mind–visualizing and celebrating the successes we will have–provides a map to arrive at those successes through the year,” said upper school English teacher Barb Cleary.
In keeping with MVS’ mission to challenge students to become self-sustaining learners, teachers were reminded that their education is a life-long process as well. As MVS welcomes new and returning students and promises a memorable school year, the school also asks for parents and students to join in this year’s theme of celebrating faculty excellence.
For more photos from the memorable professional development event, click here.