The Mystery of Faculty In-Service Days

Emily Bernhardt Latin students disagree on a multitude of different topics, however, it can be assured that we all collectively enjoy “teacher in service” days. Having the day off can relieve the stress of our school’s workload, especially for juniors and seniors. It gives kids the opportunity to sleep in, socialize with friends, and spend time with family. These seemingly random days off provide a point to look forward to during a never-ending school week, but, do Latin students know their intended purpose? When asked this question, freshman Isabella del Hierro thought for a second and replied, “No”. She said that she thought teachers “probably all just go home and sleep”. She had heard about department meetings that teachers go to, but reasoned that “they can’t go on all day?” Ms. Wells, freshmen dean, had a completely different outlook on “teacher in service” days. She stated that they serve multiple purposes, but allowing Latin’s faculty time to relax was not one of them. Ms. Wells implied that they mainly allow teachers to have conversations about new ways to help their students. For example, in September, she talked about how they “caught up” and had a “new school year pep-talk”. One summer, they read the same book and “worked through it together”, having discussions in small groups. Sounds familiar, right? Ms. Wells laughs that “teachers have to learn too!” and explains that much of this learning can come from outside sources. Sometimes, speakers visit Latin and discuss “professional development”, addressing issues such as student safety. One guest spoke about the differences between the adolescent and adult brain, especially its connection to emotion. “As an adult,” Ms. Wells states, “there are things you have to know to work with kids”. Conversations with experts outside of the Latin community can bring new perspective to working with teenagers, which, as our teachers know, is no simple task. Other events also take place during this time like department meetings, which students like Isabella normally think of when they hear “teacher in service”. Though they may sound unexciting to us, Ms. McGlinn, English teacher, thinks that “some ‘teacher in service’ days are really helpful”. She states that “often departments get together and talk about how we improve our curriculum” and agrees that these gatherings are necessary for Latin’s courses to continue to develop. Though she was not completely sure, Ms. McGlinn thinks that we have “two or three” “teacher in service” days per year. As students, we have no way of knowing if all of these are completely effective, but, according to Ms. McGlinn, the department meetings definitely are. Many teachers agree that “teacher in service” days are beneficial to Latin’s faculty, however, regardless of their productiveness, students can all agree that any excuse to sleep in is a good excuse. ]]>