Many teachers dread the thought of professional development. It's not because they are lazy, intellectually static or unwilling to learn. In fact, most teachers I know are intellectually curious, lifelong learners who want to continue to develop and hone their craft. The problem is that many PD offerings for high school teachers are terrible. Beyond often being compulsory and based on the latest buzz word, they can be condescending, trite, redundant, dry, obvious and useless. There are many charlatans out there. Many so-called experts are no longer even educational practitioners themselves, having exited the field for various reasons. This leaves teachers with a general disdain for most PD.
This is what makes The Rutgers Institute for High School Teachers so refreshing. The offerings are engaging, relevant, intellectually stimulating and enriching. It is by far my favorite PD and I always look forward to each and every session. There are many reasons why it's effective, but it begins with respect for teachers as intellectually curious adult professionals. There is nothing condescending, trite, compulsory or gimmicky about it. The sessions are based on teacher curiosity, interest, and selection. In addition sessions are conceptually content heavy and specific, thereby trusting the pedagogical integrity of teachers and their ability to transfer, synthesize and integrate the material into their own instruction as they see fit. Sessions are taught by well regarded experts in their field. These are professors who continue to write, research and teach at the university level. Furthermore, sessions are held in facilities on the Rutgers campus that are clean, comfortable and stimulating.
While the offerings tend to be geared towards history teachers, they are often based on current events and or socio-culturally relevant topics important to all of us. I'm an English and Humanities teacher, but I've never attended a session that I did not use in my own instruction, either directly or as a metaphor. Most sessions are great for use in cross-curricular collaboration and integration.
Furthermore, despite the superior quality of this PD, it is a great value. Sessions are incredibly inexpensive and offer a delicious and generous continental breakfast, as well as a lunch with a variety of offerings. The Rutgers Institute for High School Teachers will leave you feeling that your day was memorable, enriching, and time well spent.
John Madden- Morristown High School
I would like to drop you a line and let you know what a great change for the setting of our seminars. I have been attending your High School Institute seminars for the better part of five or six years now. They were always a great addition to bring to my classes. Good instructors, good people, great discussions and the lunches were ok, too. The most recent course I attended was 'Sex, Race and Gender in America'. It was a refreshing look at early American settlement, especially after attending the Colonial Williamsburg Teachers Institute in July 2016. More information to mash together and bring to class and share.
Last year I took a break from attending. I did not want to become repetitive in the overlapping courses and thought I would wait to see the new listings the following year. What a pleasant surprise to see so many course offerings which I had not previously seen. Very timely and up to date. The new facilities are a nice change, too. Facilities were never an issue, but the new building is great. Big room, good views no matter where we sit.
I will be back tomorrow for 'Jewish History in Europe' and am looking forward to it.
Lawrence N. Sangi- Bayonne High School