Happy Teacher AppreciationHappy Teacher Appreciation Week!

I hope the gift cards are freely flowing and the homemade treats are fingerprint free.

As a nice “treat” in my Inbox today there was a nice post from An Estuary that reassures me our profession is moving in the right direction.

Over the last several years, there has been a rise in the quality and number of “informal” professional learning opportunities available to educators. Unfortunately, because of the nature of these events, real credit has often been elusive. Until now.
Starting May 9th, educators attending unconferences, educator professional learning gatherings, and PD conferences will have the opportunity to earn graduate credit by taking part in the on-demand “Field Workshop” course available on Sanderling, An Estuary’s social platform for professional development.

I have recently attended my first EdCamp in February of 2014.  I liked the format, could see doing something local, but loved that this was as grassroots as Professional Learning could get. And when some of my choices did not meet my expectations, I wasn’t resentful. After all, I made all the choices!

A 2009 British publication links choice in continuing education with happiness:

People gain pleasure from doing a good job, and having it recognised by others. They enjoy grappling with, mastering and then using new skills and knowledge. All in all, they value freedom – which we can define, following Amartya Sen1, not as the possibility of ignoring other people and their needs, but as the ability to shape our own destinies.

The difference in what I read today was someone making an attempt to formalize the recognition of the informal, by choice Professional Learning of countless educators. And I am left to wonder how that recognition doesn’t come from within one of our own institutions. As if this idea is too radical of giving credit for our efforts, as if rewarding effort is the opposite of what our educational organizations do.

If one can put aside the fact that our own employers do not appear, by their actions, interested in encouraging our continued Professional Learning in the optimal manner; I would point out that educators appear willing to take on the “unrewarded” extra curricular learning. Such unregulated learning can not be expected to be sustained throughout a career, such expectations might even prematurely end a career.

I am left wondering two things.

Could I help bring in some subversive, non-sanctioned Professional learning in my district?

Could I somehow allow teachers with the initiative to display this quality through badges?

What do you think?