Honestly, I believe the best professional development comes from creating our own learning journeys. I'm a bit of a professional development junkie. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? I switched to the district I currently teach, because I knew I would have many opportunities for professional development. Working as a literacy coach for a few years, and sometimes in consulting, I have tried to figure out the characteristics of strong professional development. Most of my experience, however, is as an educator seeking to know more and to make thoughtful changes to improve the work I do with young learners. These days I find many opportunities for professional learning through Twitter, blogs, and online learning communities.
A few year ago I attended my first #edcamp. Since then I have been fortunate to join conversations at #edcampCbus and #nerdcampbc (the literacy version of #edcamp). There's something powerful in collaborative learning conversations. The learning seems to grow exponentially. So when our principal, Cindy Teske, said we were having #edcamp for our late start day, I was beyond excited. I'm fortunate to teach in learning community in which I am continually supported, challenged, and inspired by my colleagues. I knew I could learn a lot from them.
On Thursday morning, we all shuffled into the media center and our principal began to put things on the board. She may have twisted an arm or two, but our board filled quickly with possibilities and the only complaints were that there wouldn't be enough time to go everywhere. Here's what I loved about our day:
- Tapping Expertise: Opportunities to learn from the expertise of others in our building.
- Timely: Creating the board in the moment allowed us to create timely learning opportunities and discuss what we need to know now.
- Collaborative: A chance to collaborate across grade levels which is sometimes hard within the time constraints of a school day.
- Supportive: Conversations continued beyond the morning as teachers found one another to seek more information or support in next steps. (to action)
- Empowering: Educators maintained ownership of the learning.
- Energizing: I left energized not overwhelmed.