Textbook workshops are intended to fulfill a sales promise. That's all they are. The intentions of the presenters may be noble - to illustrate the ins and outs of a new book collection, complete with all the unnecessary supplementary materials, pacing guides, and so-called standards alignment - but the payoff never comes during professional development.
District trainings are often conducted by newer teachers who are eager to show off their ambition and, yes, idyllic smiles. They can easily become conduits by which administrative whims are disseminated to the masses of the staff. When directed directly by administrators, the instruction can be condescending and heavy-handed.
So professional development is pretty worthless, right? Not necessarily.
The best of all trainings are the ones sought by the individual teacher. They are based on needs and interests - and never on mandates. In personal experience, the greatest training is based on strengths, rather than weaknesses. I loved experiencing places and learning from people that are not connected with a school district or state education department. When I have been able, I have traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, to observe master teachers in the classrooms of the Ron Clark Academy, I have stayed a week on George Washington's property in Virginia, and I have studied for a week in Upstate New York at Fort Ticonderoga. These opportunities I worked to participate in. They were times that have come to be the richest in terms of content and procedures. They were opportunities to network outside of the narrow scope of my own school peers and even outside of my home state.
Professional development, as well as personal development, is an important part of improving a school, but unsolicited workshops with cookie-cutter approaches are simply ineffective at most. The fact that they are mandated - even if they are well-presented and valid - makes them undesirable and less likely to be received well by the staff.
Why not offer choices to the staff instead? Why not allow teachers to seek their own interests or work on their own needs or enhance their strengths? Squeezing everyone into one pattern will never be the best approach.