BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Brunswick County students may have had the day off Wednesday, but teachers definitely did not.
Dozens of classes and workshops were available for teachers to take during a teacher work day Wednesday; the courses themselves, taught by Brunswick County teachers. Officials said they believed this is the first time in the state of North Carolina, that a Professional Development Day has been modeled in this way.
"It's all about teachers learning from teachers," said Southport Elementary Principal Randy Horne. "We are getting to share ideas with one another, kick ideas off of one another, steal ideas from one another."
Janell Spencer a 3rd grade teacher spoke highly of the interactive learning opportunity.
"We are hearing [other teachers'] challenges, and things that have worked or did not work for them, giving us springboards to try things in our own classrooms," she said.
Officials said in the past, Professional Development Days usually consisted of a couple speakers addressing large groups of teachers.
"The terminology is 'sit and get' someone is usually speaking at you and not to you," explained Horne.
While beneficial, Spencer said because most educators that taught the workshop hadn't been teaching inside a classroom for years, it was a little hard to relate to them.
"Sometimes I felt that they had been out of the classroom for so long, that the kids had changed, the parents had changed, the curriculum changed and so it's a little difficult to connect to them because they don't understand what it's like inside a classroom in 2014," said Spencer.
With Brunswick County teachers leading the sessions, those in attendance said they walked away with a lot more.
"They are listening to someone who is in the trenches with them, someone who understands the exact same stresses and obstacles," said Horne.
It wasn't just those in attendance who learned something; those teaching the sessions also said they walked away with new tricks of the trade they want to try in their own classrooms.
"The teachers had great ideas of things I never thought of," said Polly Westfall, a writing teacher.
"I learned so much just from the collaboration in my workshop with the other teachers," said Lindsey Evans who teaches 3rd grade.
Officials say they hope to be able to use this model for Professional Development Days in the future.
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