This year I’ve decided to conduct my professional growth with the help of social media – on this blog. Instead of keeping my plan private in a personal notebook, I’m opening it up to the whole wide world through this blog. As a teaching professional, I have an obligation to plan and conduct my pedagogical growth. According to the Alberta Teachers’ Association:
Teachers have a professional responsibility to keep abreast of new developments in education and to continue to develop their professional practice. In Alberta, every teacher employed by a school system must develop and implement an annual plan for professional growth that outlines the professional development activities the teacher intends to undertake in that year.
As a lifelong learner, I appreciate the idea of a professional growth plan. In theory, this ensures that teachers adapt to new ideas in pedagogy and changes in society. In practice, however, the task of creating a professional growth plan (PGP) can easily become purposeless when the hurried events of the school year take over. I recall the time and energy I dedicated to my first PGP in my first year of teaching; my enthusiasm for my own development dissolved into disappointment as the year ended and I had nothing to show for my well-intentioned growth plan. Of course I had grown during the course of the year. I had learned new ideas and implemented new strategies. I had even read many books and studied many websites that influenced my own pedagogy. But I hadn’t experienced the purposeful and directed growth that I had set out at the beginning of the year – because after I wrote my PGP, it stayed filed away until the end of the year. Truthfully, even if I kept the plan on my desk, it would have been buried by the seeminingly endless stacks of pressing tasks that overtook the school year.
So how do we make professional growth more meaningful and more achievable?
At Robert Rundle Elementary School we have been encouraged to make our professional growth more meaningful and purposeful by engaging in it collaboratively. That is, at the outset we get together to talk about our wonderings and find ways that we can align together in partnerships and small groups to collaborate in our learning. As teachers we engage students in collaborative projects because we know the benefits of working within a learning community. So, it makes sense that we should do the same, taking full advantage of the energy and support that comes with learning together.
I think that making the learning public can help to make me more accountable to my professional growth. So, I am attempting to stretch my professional growth beyond myself and beyond my school – into my online professional learning network!
Please follow the progress of my professional growth here. Have a thoughtful comment? Perhaps a question that might fuel my thinking (or your thinking)? Or maybe you can suggest some resources I can examine or ideas I can try…? Leave comments on the posts as you see fit!