In October 2007, I bought my first house. What an awesome adventure. I have learned so much about painting, drywalling, down spouts, dry basements, drill bits…obviously a lot of house words start with the letter d. My latest home improvement is a new floor in my off-kitchen. (Thanks to mom for naming the room without a purpose for me.) My heart was set on Trafficmaster’s Allure Flooring after a brief demonstration in my local Home Depot. Sadly they did not have enough in stock, and they did not foresee anymore in the near future. For the last few weeks, every day began with a tab in Firefox of HomeDepot.com. I waited and waited, but the flooring was not available online either. Finally, after weeks of disappointment, the day came. The webpage said, “Available online only.” Yay!!!I placed my order, I smiled through paying 50% shipping costs, and I waiting for Fed Ex to come.

The boxes arrived last Thursday. I had been reading up on installation, as I was going to install it myself. I laid out the boxes. I set the thermostat to a constant 66 degrees (much to my shagrin, as the usual while-I’m-at-work and while-I-am-sleeping temperature is 52) to acclimate the flooring to my house, and I waited for the weekend.

Saturday morning came. I jumped out of bed and headed to my friend Google for a refresher on installation. No worries! I had the right equipment, the room was empty and the time was right. I was proud of myself for learning all about the process! Downstairs, the boxes were just waiting to be opened.

I had ordered enough for 15% over the square footage of the room. Should be plenty. What I should have ordered was 50% overage. You see, when I opened the first box, every sheet of flooring was broken. No, not just a little crack, but it was like someone had put it in the freezer for days and then dropped it on a concrete floor. SHATTERED…just like my hopes and dreams. I continued opening boxes, hoping that maybe it was only one box. Out of ten boxes, five were full of broken tiles. Fifty percent. FIFTY PERCENT.

What did I learn?
(1) Paying $250.00 to ship a $500.00 product was obviously not enough. (2) Keeping my house at 66 degrees for days only makes my pet bunny happy. (3) Trusting big box stores to do something right is just wrong. (Don’t get me started about my trouble with Sears!!!!!) So, how is this related to professional development at school?

First, if the equipment is broken or is nonexistent, the teacher will not go back. (Seriously, you don’t think I’m going back to HomeDepot.com do you???) Second, teachers get excited about new things – new school years, new classes, new books, new computers…we need to capture and inspire excitement about new learning. (I am still excited about my new house.) Finally, there is an art in determining the needs of school staff members. It isn’t as easy as deciding to get new flooring. I had no choice in the matter; a plywood floor just doesn’t cut it for me. We must capture and provide for needs in a timely manner. Just as a plywood floor is unacceptable, so is a classroom where students are not learning. We all talk a good game about job-embedded professional development, but we don’t do a good job of it. Check out Sylvia Martinez and her take on technology PD. I am still mulling over what she has to say – so far, her thoughts and research have been good for my thinking…not that I agree with everything she says.


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