Well I guess I will put it out there: it is officially JULY. It is hard to believe that June has already flown by. So the obvious question is “How are you getting your Professional Development”? I can honestly say that this year had been a jam packed year. I have learned and implemented a lot of things for myself and for my campus. I felt like I was going non stop. However, I enjoyed every minute of it.
So, when the end of the school year came to a close I had a decision to make. What conference and professional developments were I going to participate in and attend. My mindset was making sure that I was keeping my brain active with reading and learning. However, I was taken back the fact that my program director said to take the time and rest. Our department is really not providing any PD during the summer. SAY WHAT! I was scratching my head and wondering why she said that. It was not until I had conversations with her and read her final blog for the school year that all became clear.
Our district is gearing up for some new and great things for the coming year and we will be working like never before. So we definitely need the rest. I also had to take a step back and look at how I and others provide PD. There is nothing wrong with what we do but looking at it from the outside I and some of my colleagues notice that when PD is given in the summer we rarely see the follow through during the school year. It's more about the number of hours than learning. Now don’t get me wrong we have to follow guidelines depending on what district you are in, but sometimes I know that when I present or attend conferences and workshops in the summer I can see the faces that are just there for the hours. You see them again the next summer and realize they may have not tried to implement anything from a conference or workshop. It’s crazy. The demands of school, life, and etc. may get in the way.
I have discovered that there is more of an impact when you provide other ways of getting PD. Face to face, online (like Google Hangouts), self-paced PD, and Twitter Chats are great ways to differentiate getting PD. Plus you want to provide PD during the school year within the workflow of your school environment. You want to make sure that can teachers implement you PD within the next couple of days, next week, or next lesson.
Now I try to attend some things whenever I can, but my main PD is resting and preparing every now and then throughout the summer. Without knowing it I made commitments during the new school year and realized that now I have a high school child (yes I am officially a high school parent OMG). I have seen her activity and academic schedule already and she is booked to capacity. I want to make sure that I am supportive of both my children in this new year coming up so planning is key.
This past week I had a lot of friends attend ISTE. I wanted to go really bad but being the parent of 2 teenagers I realized I wanted to keep them active and busy. Which means that that cost money! My daughter is preparing for colorguard this summer and my son has been going to band camps so my time is really busy making sure they are active. Since I couldn’t attend I decided to follow the Twitter feed #ISTE2016 to keep up with all the happenings. From the comforts of my bed, car (without driving of course), or couch I participated and viewed a lot of conversations that were going on. I made a lot of connections and learned new things such as creating hyperdocs and using Minecraft for Education. Participating in Voxer groups/chats such as #PasstheScopeEdu has challenged me to come up with goals for myself and my campus this year. Evening documenting my own learning this summer using my own hashtag (#edtechtinker) and storyfying my learning has helped me grow. All this from the comforts of my device.
Now people may ask, how can you this be documented with the number of hours? Honestly, I am not worried about that. Aside from planning my year in my calendar, I think what I am learning throughout the summer and throughout the year will reflect in my actions during the school year. That is what is most important. Not so much proving that you did x amount of hours or attended x amount of conferences, but what have you learned and implemented in your school or classroom that has made a difference in an innovative way. Have you grown from one year to the next? Do you see growth in your students from week to week and month to month. That is what is most important. This in turn should reflect how you are evaluated (if someone is looking for proof). So Educators….enjoy your summer and relax. Participate in webinars, twitter chats, and workshops every now and then but don’t try to rack up hours and not grow during the year. Show your growth during the year while your students are growing. Happy learning.
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