In my ten years in the education profession, I’ve had the opportunity to sit through and, when it’s good, participate in a lot of professional development. I’ve listened to and Tweeted inspiring, thought-provoking quotes by numerous keynote speakers. I find myself becoming increasingly underwhelmed. Some people may label me a cynic, a pessimist, maybe even arrogant. That could be true too, but I’d also like to start seeing the changes I’m told needs to happen in education.

Here’s what my cynical experience has been with a lot of highly paid, optimistic keynote speakers.

Keynote: Teachers deserve to be treated with respect!

<Audience cheers.>

Keynote: Teachers should be paid a lot more!

<Audience claps and nods heads.>

Keynote: Standardized testing happens too much!

<Audience claps and nods heads and cheers. Some throw shade at their administrators.>

Sure, for the amount most keynotes are paid, they are a little more eloquent than what I’ve presented, but it boils down to the same, obvious, repeated message. We don’t need a keynote to tell us why our profession is so important, that we deserve to be compensated, or remind us about the unbalanced emphasis on standardized testing. After ten years in education, I’ve heard plenty of inspiring speeches. I’m plenty inspired, thanks. I’m ready to start working toward action.