1. Listen attentively for 10 minutes
Presenters: welcome to your worst teaching nightmare. Teachers learn how to be antsy from their students. If you have a lot of middle school teachers, expect them to act like middle schoolers, ADHD disorders and all. You have 10 minutes to hook us and we want to get up, move and be active every half hour.
2. Talk to our neighbor while the presenter is still talking
This practice is a natural way for teachers to use each other as a sounding board for the connections they are making to their own teaching (or they're just gossiping). If you can't tell the difference between productive noise and idle gossip, you need to go back to the classroom and practice.
3. Text and read posts
When speakers talk about another author, or another concept, we get on our smart phones and look up the links so we can expand our knowledge immediately. (Or we're blogging or catching up on our email). Don't be offended. Only kick us out if we don't realize that it's really our own phone that's ringing, and then we don't even know how to turn it off.
4. Doodle on any available surface area
Some students learn more effectively when they are able to doodle to either make connections, assist with comprehension, or even just calm their mind down. Don't fight it, just supply us with supplies and we'll listen 10 minutes longer.
5. Keep our body well fed
Snacks are the staple of staff development days. The key to smart in-servicing is to sit by the female (it's always females) that brings the best snacks. Isn't it ironic that we don't allow kids to eat in class, but we can't function in workshops without our snacks? If you want to get on our positive side, encourage snack breaks and make sure our planners supply us with soda, coffee, and other sugary, caffeinated drinks.
So for the next presenter that is brave enough to try and engage us in an all-day workshop, come prepared, know your audience, and don't treat us like adults. We really are pent-up kids - that's why we teach. ;-)