For the longest time your Grade/Department Chair, or your building Administration, or your school district has directed your Professional Learning.
It is time to take back your professional learning as professional learner. Because, despite how you sometimes feel, you are in fact a professional learner. And taking charge of your own professional learning will help you remember that!
As a Professional Learner:
What would you like to learn?
The ability to identify areas for growth is a career-long task. Break down what you would like to learning about into a few areas:
- Beneficial for my organization
- Beneficial for my classroom/learners
- Beneficial for me
After identifying different areas for improvement, balance your time between investing in yourself and providing benefit for your current employer.
You now have an ordered list for professional growth opportunities.
How would you like to learn it?
The days of waiting for an educational opportunity to come to you district like a traveling circus are gone (but I assume you giggle at the imagery of clowns falling out of a small car).
Many growth opportunities are not only synchronous, but are found offered in an asynchronous format. Check out my post on Professional Learning and Conferences for an overview of some of different ways to be a professional learner in today’s world.
Deciding how you want to learn helps narrow opportunities. Online or face-to-face may be the single largest limiter to your choices. If you are unsure if your can do one of those formats, why not take this next professional learning opportunity with an accountability partner?
Familiarize yourself with the type of accountability you require to complete some of these different offerings. Meaning? Plan to fail the first time or two you attempt one of these new ways to learn as a professional educator. Do not make these your yearly goal with your boss until you are very familiar with the level of accountability you need to succeed in these asynchronous/online opportunities.
How can your Administration, School, or District help you?
Categorizing the beneficiary helps you identify who to ask for help and when you plan to do the learning. Can your supervisor help you with learning more about something or do you need to seek opportunities on your own? Can this be pursued on your own time or can you feel good about doing this at work?
Approach your Administration with a proposal for a Professional Learning Community (PLC) to create with other professionals based on one of these new formats. Accountability to your Administration and other professionals (who may not already be close friends in addition to educators) can help with accountability and keep the PLC on topic and focused.
Even if you do not want to approach your Administration in advance of attempting some innovative Professional Learning certainly let them know after the fact how it went and if you would recommend it in the future. Your Administrator may start to look at you as a leader as a professional learner.