Professional Learning-Your way

Posted by Brenda Yoho

One glove does not fit all was a post last week. Professional learning is an integral part of growth for each of us, but are we utilizing all the resources and tools available to maximize the time and cost?

What is the best way to receive professional learning? Do you conduct book studies? Attend Podcasts? Zoom meetings? Share your thoughts. How are you changing the way professional learning is happening in your corner of the world?

Podcasts

Trying to find the time for your learning is hard to do. Heck, it is hard to find the time to go to the bathroom in the busy life of educators! Podcasts have been new for me in the past year. I have learned to enjoy listening to them as I walk, do dishes and drive. You can gather many ideas to get the spark you need to re-light your candle. These are three I recommend for different needs. You decide what you need. I have others, but I will share these first.

#1 The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast has a vast diversity of topics and is one I have referenced many times when mentoring and coaching teachers.

Jennifer Gonzalez is the host and creator and offers super hands-on, practical tips for teachers and topics about building relationships with all involved in education. She also has a unique personality of quiet soulfulness to draw you in. A solid connection to students, staff, teaching, and learning!

#2 Better Leaders, Better Schools podcast hosted by Daniel Bauer, who believes that improving the leader improves the school and refers to his followers as the ruckus makers as thinking outside the box is always encouraged.

Danny is from my area of the world initially and works diligently to network and build connections throughout education, and his show reflects the variety of his efforts. It is warm, inviting, and welcoming!

#3 The Shakeup Learning Show is hosted by Kasey Bell, who utilizes her expert knowledge in technology to teach how to meaningfully integrate technology into your classroom each Tuesday with guests, other educators, and her powerful presentations. In addition, her on-air coaching calls, in-depth interviews, and opportunities to grow as a leader are all reasons to tune in to this podcast.

Book Studies

I genuinely love book studies. No surprise! It may not be for everyone, and I understand, but it is something to do in a small group. We had done it before as a large district but divided it into small groups within buildings. Always great to have everyone on the same page. (Funny, right!) I will start a list with books I am going to read or read now. I am happy to help by hosting a book study online if anyone is interested. Just let me know which one you are interested in, and I am happy to get one started.

#1 Change your questions, Change you life by Dr. Marilee Adams

#2 Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator by Dave Burgess

#3 Fostering Resilient Learners: A Trauma-Sensitive Classroom by Kristin Souers and Pete Hall

#4 Happy Teachers Change the World: A Guide for Cultivating Mindfulness in Education by Thich Nhat Hanh and Katherine Weare

#5 I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids by Kyle Schwartz

Targeted-Creative ways to Learning

As a professional development organizer, I recognized general professional development for all did not meet the needs of everyone participating. When we had one theme and a central message to deliver, we could accomplish this a portion of the time. The majority of our time needed to be divided into what staff identified as what they needed.

It takes a lot of work to accomplish in a large school district and even more balancing if you want to coordinate with other communities. Several have modified their approach to delivery by “thinking outside the box” and sharing resources.

If you live in a county and you want to have a prominent name speaker come to your area, pool funds together to have the speaker come to a central location. Additionally, if coordinated teachers who are experts in specific areas wanted or could present to peers, this would be an opportunity to do so.

Other ideas have been to record pieces of training teachers create, complete short training called “Lunch and Learns” over lunch periods, and connect with teams on a rotation of floater subs.

What I wish my teacher knew is a presentation students can lead in a professional learning workshop for teachers. Students can provide a look into what students are thinking and what they need and also allow them to give some praise to teachers. This takes a little behind-the-scenes work with taking pictures, gathering student comments, and putting together a slideshow presentation to show staff. A Win-Win for all! (Hard to do without teachers finding out, but it can be done!)

"I only have 2 rules!"
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