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Do we really have PD opportunities?

Profressional development

How much value do you have in attending your required professional development trainings? Our district requires us to attend a full day of trainings from a list they provide. Unfortunately, being a 20+ year teacher, they just do not offer anything worthwhile. All the choices are geared towards new teachers or meeting new requirements from the state for specific content areas. This last training, I got nothing out of the four trainings. I felt like I could have spent my time creating CFAs for my content, reviewing data, and/or follow up on how to address the gaps in my students’ learning. I understand the value of PDs, but they need to provide trainings that all levels of teachers are going to appreciate. I would appreciate being trusted to use my PD time to review videos, websites, tutorials, etc. based on what I professional need to continue to be a good teacher. I don’t want to go on a new tangent, but we need to be trusted to make decisions for ourselves on what we need to help us to be stronger teachers. I think at 20+ years in this field I earned the right to choose for myself what is best for me as an educator. It gets very frustrating when we have to fill out a survey after each session asking us how great it was and how the district provides us with all these opportunities to improve ourselves during contract hours. There are plenty of boxes that ask for ways they could improve on the delivery of the presentation but not on what was being presented. There is never follow up or follow through in the next round of PDs to help with what we could do or how we implemented the previous training into our teaching. Ask us what we want and what we want the follow up to look like. We have another PD in two weeks, and I am dreading what they will have for me to select.


Laura Ballesteros

Laura was destined to be a teacher when as a small child she would gather her stuff animals and teach them how to read a book she saw on the PBS show Reading Rainbow. She began her quest to become a teacher with focusing on teaching American History, but an art history teacher guided her towards teaching English. He wanted to ensure she would be able to get a teaching position right out of college. She followed his suggestion and upon subbing at a middle school she ran into her former middle school Social Studies teacher Elizabeth Clontz. Upon completion of their conversation with the principal Laura was offered a position at that school. Mrs. Clontz provided her with the support and direction she needed to complete her first three years of teaching with confidence and dedication to her craft.
Laura has spent all 23 years of her teaching at that very school in Language Arts, Special Education, Read 180, Jaguar Den Intervention, and Social Studies 6-8. In 2007, she earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. In 2013, she earned her National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Language Arts. She is currently in her dream position as a 7th grade teacher focusing on WWI, WWII, Holocaust, Cold War, and Economics. Over her 23 years teaching, she has taken her students on field trips to museums, concerts, Broadway plays, the state capital, theme parks, and wild animal parks. She has created Hogwarts Night, WWII Bond Dances, and AVID Parent/Students Nights. She is most happy with her teaching when students can interact with history and have fun with it.
In her free time, she travels to places related to the history she teaches. She has had the privilege of visiting Europe in 2018 and 2022 under the guidance and financial support of the WWII Museum and NAU Martin-Springer Institute. She has traveled across the country under the guidance of economic organizations to explore economic issues of the past and present. She enjoys returning with her wealth of information and experiences to share with her husband and son.

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