How do we implement CCSS, PARCC, new Teacher Evaluations/accountability, PBIS, RtI, iPads, Chromebooks, SMARTboards, mobile technology, etc.... without any training? It is overwhelming, frustrating and downright impossible. But we can no longer count on our school districts, professional organizations, or administrators to help us keep up and keep current. We need to start taking control of our own Professional Development! I know many out there would say "why should I do this on my time and my dime?". Well, I will respond by saying because we are teachers! And as teachers we should be models for our students. If we are striving to make them life-long learners, then isn't it our responsibility to be life-long learners as well? To be the best we can be for our students, we MUST keep up... we MUST continue to grow and learn! Here are some reasons why taking control of our own Professional Development will revolutionize how we teach!
Learning should be and can be fun... if we create our own learning! If we are in charge of our learning, we can decide how our instruction is delivered, we can decide when we learn, we decide where it takes place,we decide who delivers it and we decide what we learn! How cool is that? No more scouring our mail for Workshops being offered in our area at a cost our districts are willing to pay on a day that substitutes are available and presented by speakers that won't put you to sleep! So go out there and make your learning FUN!!
Another GREAT reason to take control of your own PD is the abundance of tools available to us thanks to the wonderful world of technology! The way we as professionals learn is forever changed with the internet and mobile technology. Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, Google +, Wikis, On-Line Learning, iTechnology Apps. Google Apps., Skype... the list is exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting!). These technology tools have revolutionized Professional Development. Learning is available to us 24/7 at little or no cost right from our own homes. No more forms in triplicate, no more checking 5 different school calendars, no more sub. plans! You can log in to any one of these tools at any time of day or night and let the learning begin.
I think my favorite reason for taking control of our own PD is Collaboration. Technology has made our world a very small place. And when it comes to learning and growing, that is a great thing! It is amazing to me that I can log on to Twitter and members of my PLN are not just local, but global. I am learning from Educators in England, Canada, Australia many other countries. How incredible is that? Regardless of what form of Social Media we choose, there are such amazing things we can learn from each other. I cannot tell you how fabulous it is to connect with a favorite Children's Book author only to find out they would be more than happy to Skype with your class. Or validating it is to get feedback on your blog posting from an administrator in another state or country or finding out that other teachers across the country are going to start using something in their classrooms that you suggested. Learning from each other is the most powerful form of Professional Development I can think of. We are there, in the classrooms, doing it every day. We need each other! We need to support, validate, learn and grow together.
So get out there! Stop waiting for your school districts to give you "in-service training". Stop waiting to find the perfect conference or workshop to attend. And PLEASE change your thinking of "not on my time or my dime". Take charge of your own Professional Development. Develop a PLN. Learn, Grow and and model Life-Long Learning to your students and to your colleagues!! You won't regret it!