Monday, September 30, 2013

Professional Growth: One Size Does Not Fit All

Hello Education Universe-

I'm licking my wounds a little bit this week from a few rough classes and some revelations that I'm not getting some of the results that I want.

It's going to be one of those years where I learn just as much (if not more) than my students.  I go between the stress of that realization and the excitement in a challenge to get a job done.

However as all of us go through our triumphs and tribulations as educators, we need different ways to get feedback and seek answers.  Unfortunately collaboration and time to prepare are locked beyond a wall made of red tape that has made our jobs much more hectic and high stakes than it ever has before.

That's not an excuse, it's reality.

However just as each student is on their own educational journey, so are we as teachers.  Sometimes self-reflection is the best way to help us figure out our next step.  Other times time is our best friend.  A weekend to clear our heads and get back in the game may be all we need.  Sometimes our colleagues have the answers we're looking for, or the ideas we have not yet thought of.

But again, when?

This is why personal learning and professional growth cannot be the same for each of us, and needs to evolve just like our profession constantly does.  There is so much out in the world to be found that sometimes we just need the time and the direction to find it.

I work with about a dozen wonderful teachers.  And a lot of they have found the answers I need as they made their way along the trail.  So with little time to talk or collaborate, how do we tap each other's skills?

The answer:  a blog.

Just like this one.  What if all those emails that we send to each other or those lunchroom conversations were encapsulated?  What if we kept them somewhere?  What if we tagged them to help each other?  What if the question we wanted to ask the expert teacher or that newer teacher savvy in the new techniques could be placed in one spot and answered as we have the time?

Why not?

Now imagine if we each reached out in our own ways into the education community through the development of our own personal learning networks.  Some of us like to talk face to face, others like to read, and others like to use social networking.  So in our own ways we can bring a multitude of information to back to base to be used as needed.

I'm going to say something right now that not everyone is willing to admit.  I can't do this job alone.  I need help.   I need encouragement.  I need feedback.  I need ideas.

But so does everyone else.  I have some that you need, and I'm game for trading.  But how?  But when?  It's so frustrating to know you need help finding the help to help yourself.  It's like Kid President said:  "I'm on your team, be on my team."


If you're like me, you can't switch your job off.  And when you don't feel effective, when you don't feel happy with how things are going, you dwell.  I'd be willing to bet that most struggling teachers would benefit from a way to grow professionally that is easily accessible and constantly growing.  We all want to be great, and some days we are.  Other days we are not.  And those days when I'm not great, I lose sleep over it.

So as I learn to be an administrator and by nature an instructional leader, I cannot wait to implement this  type of professional learning community.  A PLC of PLN's...  now that sounds interesting.

Ok, better get back to class.  We're talking about something... I think.  Oh shoot, I have a presentation to give.

Sometimes you just get on a tangent, and you just have to hope it takes you back to the circle.  But I guess that wouldn't make it a tangent would it?

Until next time,

Mr. J.

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