Monday, May 28, 2012

Real Professional Development

Raise your hand (or click the like button) if you actually enjoy professional development.  I love professional development.  I love teaching, and good professional development makes me a better teacher and re-fires the passion inside me to do what I love.

Now, perhaps I should clarify my meaning of professional development.  I don’t mean boring, staff meetings where you are setting up a schedule, or doing a mundane task that could have been done via e-mail.  I don’t mean being trained on something that you are not interested in actually using in your classroom.  I don’t mean sitting through an hour long power point on a topic you have already mastered.  I mean working on a collaborative task, learning about a topic that will enhance your teaching, getting new tips and ideas that will help you build understanding for your students.

Everythings Intermediate ExpoNow, I have enjoyed professional development of this type in real life.  I like nothing more than to get together with other teachers and have a real brainstorming fest!  However, I have found that sometimes these types of “real” professional development can be too few and far between.  That is, they were until I discovered teacher blogging and other teachers on social media.  Now when I need new ideas, I search out ideas on Pinterest.  I collaborate with other teachers by asking questions on their blogs, or contacting them outright if I have a project in mind.  I also use Facebook groups (like Teachers Sharing Ideas) to enhance my own professional development.  Finally, I take part in webinars and/or watch teacher tip videos on You Tube.Global Teacher Connect - a Blog for Teachers Around the World

In addition to being more engaging to me, this type of professional development can be catered to my own personal needs and the needs of my students.  I find what I am looking for, or if I don’t find it, I ask others where I can find it.  I connect with millions of other teachers (sometimes teachers in other countries and continents, like on Global Teacher Connect) and those connections help me grow and be a better teacher each and every day.

So, the next time your administrators ask what you are looking for in professional development, share with them some different views on professional development.  How do you use the internet to provide yourself with professional development?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources