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Tips for Surviving Staff Development Days

September 14, 2021 by Suzanne Kelley

Time to go back to school! And, you are super excited to get into your classroom and get everything ready for the new school year. As a first-year teacher or as a veteran teacher, getting the room ready is a priority. But, hold up! Recently, you have received the agenda for the few days that you are back without students. And… there are meetings and Staff Development allotted for the majority of your time. 😫 How are you going to survive staff development days?

If you are like us, we sit through all of the staff development and meetings trying to listen. But, we end up thinking of the million and one things that we have to get done! So, we have come up with some ways that you can survive the beginning of the year staff development days and those throughout the school year!

Tips to Survive Staff Development Days

  • Often our minds are elsewhere while our physical being is in the meeting. So, try to be present and connected. Who knows? If you are paying attention, you might learn something new!
  • Also, bring a snack for yourself and some to share. Your co-workers will love you!

  • Always bring a laptop and take notes. First, you are more likely to take in the information if you are taking notes on it. Plus, your mind is wandering, so it will be good to have something to reference back to if needed.
  • And, dress comfortably! PD is not the time to break out the new shoes and the itchy clothing. If you can wear leggings or jeans, take full advantage! You will have a whole school year to bring on the cute. Check out this blog on comfortable teacher shoes to help you out!

Additional Tips to Survive Staff Development Days

  • Bring a jacket or a sweater. Conference rooms, gymnasiums, and cafeterias can be cold! 🥶
  • If you drink coffee or tea, splurge on something special the morning of the PD. Taking care of yourself will be essential if you have to sit for a lengthy time!

Things to Remember to Survive Staff Development Days

  • First, the interactive PD games and role-plays can suck the life out of you! Try to engage and have some fun with your co-workers! Come out of your comfort zone!
  • And, pledge to keep your phone put away! Sitting through tons of meetings can be tedious, but fight the urge to check in digitally. It will not make a good impression if the admin sees you on your phone!

  • Also, make lots of eye contact and give lots of smiles to the other teachers in the room. They, too, wish to be in their classrooms and are struggling as well!
  • During breaks, don’t rush back to your classroom to start a project. First, it will be overwhelming when you realize all that you aren’t getting done. Second, this is a great time to mingle and get to know some of your co-workers better.

  • Don’t complain about PD to the other teachers! Although they most likely think the same things about PD, complaining will set you off on the wrong foot.

Most Important Tips!!!

  • Stock up on freebies and no prep literacy ideas, and don’t forget this centers bundle and these phonics ideas from Education to the Core! If you like no prep, print, and go activities, you have to check all these out!
  • DO NOT be the person that asks questions at the end just to ask a question! Those firm stares from other teachers will burn through your skin and brand you! If you have legitimate questions, try to ask them throughout the presentation. Or, jot them down and ask the presenter after the group gets dismissed! You want to survive your PD days by walking out still liked by your peers!

  • Although most people would recommend sitting near the front so that you can focus, Don’t! And, don’t sit in the back (the chatty Cathys are in the back). Sit where you can visually see the presentation and your co-workers. Some warm smiles from the other teachers will make you feel welcome, and you will be close enough to hear the presentation.
  • If no one else is volunteering, take a chance! Dead silence goes on too long as the presenter waits for a volunteer. And, the veteran teachers will love that it isn’t them! 

  • Be gracious to the presenter. Typically, they know that teachers do not want to be on their best listening behavior. They have THINGS to do! Don’t talk continually to those next to you. Try to avoid eye rolls and negative facial expressions. Always applaud and say thank you!

Some teachers love Staff Development, and as a new teacher, there will be tons of information that you will need to learn. As teachers, we are life-long learners (hopefully) and do appreciate useful and meaningful Staff Development. But, the struggle is real getting our classrooms ready for the kiddos and working in our rooms.

Hopefully, you can survive the staff development days that occur each school year with our tips and leave with enough energy to tackle everything in your room! 


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