Professional Growth 101


It's been so busy, that I feel like I have hardly had a chance to think clearly never mind blog.  But that said, a lot of amazing things were happening in the garage this week. This post is an opportunity for me to reflect on my professional growth as I have challenged myself this week in ways I haven't necessarily had the opportunity to do before and I think I am a better educator and member of my community for it.  

Monday we met as a group of teacher leaders, also known as the Committee on Teaching and Learning. I was scheduled to lead us through our discussion on leadership as it pertained to our temperaments from Keirsey personality test. The schedule was such that we would do an activity to illustrate the way we plan things, how we like to spend our downtime followed by a discussion about the strengths of our temperaments.  

Guardian Inspector- ISTJ.  Interestingly enough that my temperament has gone through a shift the last few years.  For years I was ISTP.  What this means, I am not sure.  But I guess my classroom has shifted a lot in the past few years as well.  I find myself constantly considering the social emotional needs of our children, the values we need to instill in them and the focus on skill development. I wasn't always this teacher, but I am proud to say that this shift makes me feel like a better educator.  Two examples come to mind this week:  

1) Have you seen students "pick their teams" as opposed to "be picked".  I was always the athlete and growing up I didn't develop much empathy for the kid that was picked last.  However, when at recess the other day I noticed that the kids were not using the traditional captain picks his team, but rather kid picks his team. How it works?  Two kids move out of the pack first and go to different sides, then, one by one the students pick a direction (team) to go to.  Each kids picks his direction, picks his own team.  It's random who goes when and each kid has a sense of belonging for choosing his own way. It was a wonderful discovery and something I will definitely integrate into my practice if I ever have a need.  

2)  Faculty vs 8th Grade Free throw contest.  For the past year I have felt challenged showing up at 7:30 on certain Fridays to be a part of the faculty vs staff free throw contest. Why?  I don't want to be sweaty and gross all day, I don't want to get hurt, etc...  but I could play and I had for years.  But in fairness, I am not great at basketball and I don't really enjoy it.  So I started to show up late and be a cheerleader.  Well, this week at families we had a free throw contest instead.  It was wonderful!  No teams, throw in a skirt, who cares if you are an athlete. While all the adults in our community may "get" that it's tradition and be ok with not wanting or being able to play... this was inclusive.  We all shot, and it was fun!  We were a community, not the have and the have nots. 

Talking through the different temperaments with my peers was really important (despite the fact that in the back of my mind I felt that we had 1 hour together and I kept going back in forth inside wondering if this was truly the best use of time when we find it so challenging to find time to meet together).  In the end it felt great to acknowledge the way in which we all come to decisions, deal with others and live aspects of our live. Being in charge of the activity and discussion made me really appreciate and be present with the wonderful team I am now a part of.  I found myself consciously leaving out sarcasm and speaking quietly with less jokes, knowing that it could be read in many ways and being surrounded by so many idealists, intense in a different way.  The meeting ended with me feeling great about the hour we spent together, and I felt like I was in a better position for the week to come.   

The next opportunity for growth came on Wednesday when I led a professional growth session for our school on "Social Media in Education"- Twitter!  I love what twitter has allowed me to learn and accomplish. I love the people I have met and the relationships I am able to maintain.  140 characters of all out goodness! So I shared.  16 participants all eager to understand #, @ RT and favorite.  It also gave me an opportunity to hone my skills for instructing peers and learning from them at the same time. We challenged the participants to take on a 7 day twitter challenge. Free dress for them and for their class/advisory? Come on friends!!!  

So what's  next...  in between all of this I have Kiva on my mind.  Excited to partake and help lead a few sessions of growth at the Kiva U Summit this weekend.  Stay tuned... Kiva in the Classroom... changed my career and it could change yours too.