Last night I responded to a tweet from dmcordell, which in itself was a link to CathyJo’s blog post on professional development. I said that “Yes [sometimes administrators limit professional development because] there are days away from work to think about (interruption to schedule, coverage, etc.)”
In the example in CathyJo’s post, where faculty are forbidden to use personal days for professional development, I’m flummoxed. That I don’t get – it is a personal day, to be spent on personal stuff. Would it be better to use those days to go to a yoga retreat? If my priority is personal professional development… She goes on to say that she could understand if the administration had coverage issues in mind, but that actually taking away personal days is wrong. If the conference in question was during a time of major research projects or testing or something similar, or if there were no budget for substitutes, I could understand the administrative concern. But if not?
I don’t get personal days at work. I have a set number of vacation days, and I can save some to use if there’s a real need (for example, when I closed on my house). Professional development is, on the other hand, supported and encouraged within reason. There are always choices to be made regarding what conferences to attend, and we are being asked to seriously reconsider those that take us away from school overnight (for budgetary reasons).
Last year, I attended NECC on my own dime, during the summer. This year I paid for my flight to AASL with mileage points, and I never ask for reimbursement for food/taxis/tips (or mileage) at any conference. As Doug Johnson says, you gotta have a little skin in the game. Of course, this means I have to pick and choose my conferences wisely (I’m paying my way to TEDxNYED next weekend, but luckily that’s a minimal drain on my wallet).
So that’s the longer response to my tweet replying to Diane.