In my role as a secondary math teacher specialist for Downey Unified School District, I provide and consume a lot of professional development.  Coming off of last week’s post on Sharpening the Saw, a question I often have is about when trainings should take place.  More specifically, on what two consecutive days of the week should professional development take place?

I wanted to think about this from the perspective of educators, so I asked them on Twitter and Facebook.


A week later, 153 people had responded and the results (below) were a little surprising to me.  The most popular pair of days were Friday and Saturday followed by Thursday and Friday.  Those two pairs of days were more popular than the five remaining pairs of days combined.  I didn’t think that many educators would prefer to be out on a Saturday.  By far the least popular days of the week were Sunday and Monday, which doesn’t seem surprising.

Hopefully this data will be useful for anyone planning on doing professional development that has flexibility in the dates they choose.


What stands out to you about the results of this survey?  Does anything surprise you or confirm what you already believed?  Let me know in the comments.


  1. Interesting! I was always told to stay away from Mondays and Fridays as those are heavy sub required days. But I understand, I can much more easily leave a review activity for a sub on Friday than on Wednesday!

    • I guess it should be noted that teachers’ preferences don’t necessarily align with sub availability. Perhaps the reason we are told to stay away from Fridays is because teachers like being out so much on them already!

  2. This is important information for PD providers, but also for school district administrators. Teachers will ‘give up’ a Saturday in exchange for a ‘give’ from their district to allow them to attend on a Friday. If a district is in planning stages for their upcoming calendar, this provides information to plan for Friday PDs followed by a Saturday. Since substitutes would not be required on a Friday, pay your teachers more to attend on Saturday. Seems a no-brainer to me!

    • Just to clarify, by not needing substitutes on Friday, you’re referring to in-service Fridays? Interesting idea. Large districts have so many competing interests for in-service days, that (I find) it’s very hard to carve out space for content/teaching PD. There are a lot of state mandates in our state on policy and assessment related PD, which gobble up the very few days that our calendar offers. But still, I like your idea!

  3. For a second I was surprised then I thought, it’s easier to leave sub plans for just one day (Friday) vs. two days and you can have Sunday to digest what you learned and find a way to work it into your upcoming lessons. Learning something new on Monday does not give me time to think about how to add it to my classroom (and it may never find it’s way there.) I like the Friday/Saturday idea!

    • Yeah, I was a bit surprised by that too, at first. I also found it interesting that the other pair with a weekday and weekend day was by far the least popular.

  4. Friday – Saturday would have been my choice, but I was actually surprised that the majority agrees with me and are willing to give up a Saturday rather than be out of thier classroom. I should not have been surprised as the teachers I have worked with are vocal about not wanting to be out of their classrooms any more than absolutely necessary. I would also suggest that in order for PD to be most productive, teachers attend PD with teams and that the PD end with time for teams to reflect and plan how the new learning can be implimented the very next week.

  5. I’m always hesitant to plan any PD for Fridays. Brain research suggests that we need to use new learning within 24-48 hrs. or we forget about 70% of what we’ve been taught. I know teachers prefer PD at the end of the week, but I’m just not sure it’s the most effective way to go. I think as long as they are given ready-to-implement tools and strategies during the session, then given some time at the end of the session to consolidate their learning and think about how to incorporate into the next day’s lesson plan, beginning- and mid-week PD is the best way to go. Sorry, teachers! 🙂

    • Thanks for this pushback, Tanya. You’re making me realize that “best” in this context means best from the teachers’ perspective and that there are other ways of conceptualizing best.

    • I respectfully disagree with your assumptions. I am more likely to have the time to incorporate what I learn on a Saturday into the next weeks plans than what I learn on Wednesday. Wednesday lessons are followed by two days where I am busy teaching, not planning how to implement what I just learned into my classroom. If I have PD on Friday and not Saturday, I have a full day that I can utilize to plan and prepare to use what I learned. If I have PD on Saturday, I at least have Sunday afternoon to think about how I will utilize what I learned.

  6. My initial answer was as follows:
    PD in summer? Tuesday and Wednesday
    PD during school time? Thursday and Friday

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