Why You Should Never Cancel Your First PD Class Offering
In my opinion, a professional development (PD) class should never be canceled. End of blog post. But, because life has a lot of variables and the choice to cancel a class isn’t always clear cut, let me explain why cancelling a PD class is especially detrimental to new classes. At the end of this post, I will also offer some situations in which canceling a class is really the best choice.
New Classes and Instructors Are Building Their Reputations.
Reputation is important. Canceling the first offering of a new PD class is the teaching world’s equivalent to someone saying they will do something and then finding out they didn’t follow through.
So disappointing, isn’t it?
Even more disappointing when someone’s job or pay raise is on the line. Cancel that first class, especially if you are a new PD instructor, and guess what? Your reputation takes a hit. Many of the students who did sign up for your class will remember not to register for your classes in the future. Sounds harsh or exaggerated? Not to the teacher who is now struggling to find a replacement class just so they can keep their job or get their much-deserved pay raise! Let me tell you, word-of-mouth advertising is effective, but that is not the kind of word-of-mouth advertising you want for your class.
Time is Precious
In order to get a class approved you need to have put some time into developing the syllabus and the topical outline. Likewise, our Distance and Continuing Education staff, director, and deans of the colleges have put time into processing and reviewing the details of your class. Depending on the stage the class was in at the time of cancellation, marketing staff may have spent time promoting the class, registration staff may have enrolled a number of students, and NDSU accounting staff may have spent time processing student payments.
That is a lot of time put into a class that hasn’t even begun.
After a class has been canceled, again, depending on the stage of cancellation, staff must spend time taking the class off our website and removing any promotion, registration staff must notify students and process paperwork to drop them from the class, and the NDSU accounting staff must spend time reimbursing students for payments made.
There is a lot of unseen time that goes in to canceling a class.
Unfortunately, time has a funny way of disappearing and when it’s gone, it’s gone.
When You Should Cancel a PD Class
Canceling a PD class should always be given serious consideration; however, there are times when it isn’t in anyone’s best interest to continue offering a class. Here are a few times when canceling a PD class might be the most appropriate option.
- You have an illness, surgery, or death in the family, and it will affect your teaching.
Life isn’t predictable and neither are serious illnesses, unplanned surgeries, or deaths of close family or friends. If any of these situations arise and you don’t believe you can continue to teach the course to your best ability, then contact our office to cancel your course as soon as possible. If you know you have a health or family obligation that may make teaching your course difficult, we urge you to consider offering your course in a semester when you have more time and bandwidth to devote to your class.
- A significant portion of your course content has changed.
There are times when you have gotten your course approved early and by the time the class is to begin there are significant changes to the course content. Some examples of this might include legislative changes, curricular revisions, changes in software used among schools, loss of or construction on significant sites your course visits, and more. This would be a good time to cancel your course and allow time to make revisions to your course before you offer it again.
Let’s work together to ensure your course is offered and is running at its absolute best. If you would like assistance with planning and developing your course, please contact NDSU’s Distance and Continuing Education program in the Office of Teaching and Learning.
Are course cancellations a big deal to you? Let us know in the comments below if you have been affected by a course cancellation and how it did or did not impact your professional development.
About the Author
Connie Jadrny, is a senior marketing coordinator for NDSU Distance and Continuing Education, a program of the Office of Teaching and Learning.
In more than 17 years at NDSU, Jadrny has learned a lot about the professional development needs of K-12 teachers.
In this series of posts, she intends to pass along bits of wisdom from the professional development industry.
Let’s learn together!