Wednesday, July 8, 2015

One little word...

As a Reading/Instructional Coach, many times I feel like the line between the school year and summer vacation is a blur. Yes, I do have my summers "off," but I find myself spending a lot of time preparing for the upcoming school year.  This summer has been extended since I have been on maternity leave since March, but that just means I have had a little "extra time" to spend reading books and educational blogs, searching Pinterest, and finding new accounts on Instagram to follow to give me some new ideas and strategies to share with others and to try out myself.

The process of planning professional development for the teachers in my school is a responsibility that I do not take lightly, and is the topic of much of my reading and personal learning.  Just as teachers take into account various forms of data when planning engaging, meaningful lessons for their students, coaches and administrators do the same for professional development. 


One book I have enjoyed digging into a bit more is Read, Write, Lead by Regie Routman.   In the book she refers to professional development as professional learning.  Whoa!  Isn't it crazy how changing one little word can have such a drastic impact on how something is perceived?!?   Once I read this, I immediately pulled up our professional development plan and revised it to read the "IES Professional Learning Plan." Why?  Because that is exactly what it should be... a time to meet together to collaborate, share student work, examine effective teaching practices, and to keep the focus on learning for everyone involved! 

One idea that Routman suggests in her book is to "facilitate bragging." She goes on to explain that teachers are often reluctant to share publicly about their successes unless their efforts are noticed and named by administration and they are asked to bring a work sample and share in a group setting.  She also points out that it is best to let the group know that the teacher has been asked to share in order to make him/her feel more comfortable.  

Along those same lines, this year we will have a time incorporated into our Grade Level Meetings each week called Teacher Try-Its.  This will be a time when an assigned teacher will share with the group a new strategy they tried, technology tool they have implemented, book they have read, etc. I'm excited about the possibilities that these conversations will hold.  

I will wrap this post up with a quote that I believe speaks volumes about the importance of professional learning.  I have every intention of posting this in in my office and in our Literacy Lab, which is the room we use for PD:

Do you have any tried and true tips for ensuring quality, professional learning in your building?  If so, please share!

Always Learning,