Sunday, 26 October 2014

Evolution of professional development

Friday's province wide professional development day for teachers made me reflect on what exactly pro d is and how my approach to professional development has changed during my teaching career.

1. Early career professional development
I have always loved professional development and I think it is an integral part of being an educator.  Teachers, for the most part, were very successful students and that love of learning doesn't disappear after graduation.  For me, those early years of teaching meant that I tried to get to as many big conferences as possible and learn as much as possible about improving my craft.  I attended both provincial English teachers' and Social Studies teachers' conferences.  I went to workshops about behaviour strategies and assessment strategies. I learned about drama activities and art activities.  I learned about health and wellness and so on.  My Renaissance approach to professional development meant that I wanted to try anything and everything to make my teaching better.

2. Current professional development practice
I still love professional development but now it has morphed into something different.  I no longer look at all the big conferences to go to for a variety of little reasons ranging from cost to time away from family.  But the biggest reason is that I don't think I have to go to them. My professional development is always happening; it is fluid and constant.  I am on Twitter every single evening. I read something educational every single night. Now that I have more teaching and life experience, I am more aware of my strengths and weaknesses as an educator and I focus my pro d to work on stregthening those weaknesses.  I have a clearer vision of how I want to impprove as a teacher librarian and where I what direction I want my library program to go in. 

In my early years as a teacher, I was focused on learning my craft and how to deliver the curriculum in innovative ways. Now I really know the curriculum and see the big ideas interwoven throughout the course.  I also understand assessment much better and manage behavior issues with much more ease.  Professional development is now more about fine tuning my teaching and tailoring professional development to meet my individual needs.

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