Today, our district is holding their district-wide professional development day, hosted by the district leadership team, the Coquitlam Teachers’ Association (CTA), and the Coquitlam Principals, Vice-principals Association (CPVPA) at Riverside Secondary School. This is my second district pro-d and I am noticing the difference in my own behaviour, needs and learning throughout the day.
As a teacher, the first place I would go to at any pro-d was the book publishers tables. It was here that I grabbed any resource even remotely related to reaching and my subject areas. I would carry reams of books, manipulatives, pamphlets and handouts throughout the rest of the day, usually in a handy publisher’s bag or tote, which would be promptly lost when I got home.
If I wasn’t presenting, I would search through the days’s schedule and find the most interesting teacher-driven, collaborative workshops that related directly to my classroom. I listened intently, taking many notes in a special notebook for that particular pro-d, drawing, writing and making sure I got all the important email and contact information I could. I would hurry down to the next session and start again on a new page in my special notebook, these notebooks would be taken home, studied and I would read all the books and resources I could find from the keynote speaker and the presenters I particularly enjoyed.
As a new administrator, I have radically changed my focus. I am searching less on the particulars of teaching sciences and maths and more on the whole school, educational practices in all courses and the rapidly changing theories on student learning – I have found that the brain-mind-education (MBE) to be a great interest for me. I search for sessions that will help me improve my practice at the administration level, look through the publishers’ displays, but at the same time, yearn to be back in my office, catching up emails, parent contacts and the daily work orders and organization that is required to ensure that the students can learn in a safe environment.
Today, I watched and listened intently as Dr. Dan Siegel presented on the I,portable of understanding the learner’s brain and how to engage students to become learners in the classroom. Great stuff, but it doesn’t serve to improve my immediate practice and needs. I reviewed the physiological and sociological development and,are up of the brain and how connections are strengthened, especially when students are Seen, Feel Safe, are Soothed and feel Secure. I immediately downloaded one of books to my Kindle App to read over the weekend. Again, great stuff, but not meeting my immediate needs (which, ironically, he spoke about for our students in classes).
My professional development is coming from many different places. I am involved with a MOOC (#etmooc), a strong twitter community of educators, google plus, many educators blogs that come through my reader, educators both locally and internationally within a PLN, and organizations such as ASCD and BCASCD. A day of workshops and sessions that inspire for the day or weekend, or even those sustained, year-long events no longer interest me. I delve into professional development daily, in front of the tv, after dinner or on wet weekends.
Learning has become essential in my journey. Much like the vision of some educators around the future of education for students, my pro-d is self-directed, full of mess and chaos, but exciting and fun. I learn, re-learn and demonstrate that learning n a daily basis.
Of course, I am still extremely excited to travelling to Chicago in three weeks for the ASCD annual conference, where I hope to meet those in my PLN that have been virtual teachers and co-learners!