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Pro D days a learning experience

Teachers from Ladysmith Intermediate School listen to John Barsby coach

The hallways and schoolyards are empty of children but on this day the desks  are filled with another kind of pupil — teachers.“Pro D Day is an opportunity to come together and discuss ideas, share ideas and network,” Ladysmith Intermediate School principal Cathal Walsh said.While some parents grit their teeth at the mention of Pro D days, the teachers are busy learning how to improve in the classroom.Between coffee breaks and muffins, the teachers listened to presentations, attended sessions, group meetings and a review.“Within our classrooms we do a good job of building community and building responsibility,” said Grade 4 teacher Carol Minchen. “And now we’re trying to bring it out of the classroom.”The presentation, given by Coach Rob Stevenson from John Barsby Secondary School in Nanaimo, was about giving kids motivation and strategies to better themselves.Stevenson spoke on the right way to compete, challenging yourself with new ideas and goal setting.Paul Grey, who teaches Grade 5, said the presentation was quite helpful.“It’s about learning how to goal-set a little better and that’s very important,” he said. “I’m often dealing with the issues he raised.”Stevenson, a football coach, framed much of his presentation in the form of sports analogies.“As a coach, a lot of what he discussed relates to me,” Grade 7 teacher Terry Boyle  said. “I have come up against those things.”Boyle said it helped open his eyes to new ways of doing things while also affirming what he’s already been doing.“I’m not the only one,” he said, “It allows us the opportunity to share common problems. If I come away with one thing to apply in the classroom, it’s a success.”Walsh said the school is focussing on collaboration and teamwork this year and the Pro D day gives the teachers an opportunity to reflect and build on that.“In every profession there’s an expectation to build and get better,” he said. “We need to continue to work on our craft of teaching.”Walsh said Stevenson gave the teachers good tools to work with.“Teaching’s interesting in that you’re in a building with lots of people but it’s a fairly isolated job,” he said, adding that Pro D days give everyone an opportunity to get together.“We’re basically improving ourselves as a staff and as a school.”The Pro D day was Tuesday, Feb. 22.

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