Saturday, November 21, 2015

Professional Direction

I had a great conversation with teachers from systems other than my own last night. I was delighted to hear about their schools' focus on student-teacher positivity, BYOD, and PBL. These schools are moving forward with regard to teaching well.

We talked a lot about school structure and ideas that would empower and support educators in the classroom more. We debated the coaching role with regard to when it's a powerful role in a school and when it's a role that defeats.

We talked about home-school balance which is always an issue, and we discussed what it's like to be the older teachers in a school, and what that means for our professional development and growth. Interesting enough, I've had that same conversation with teachers at the past two conferences I attended too. it seems that there is a fair group of 50-somethings who are teaching and looking for the best ways to use their experience and time to develop their professional repertoire and contribute well in schools.

Of course, some older teachers face ageism in the work place, and we discussed why that might happen. We also talked about the positive challenge that younger teachers bring to us since many of the new teachers joining schools are bringing a professional attitude, good skills and knowledge, and high expectations for themselves, colleagues, and students.

In the end, we felt that teachers in our age group often have the time to develop expertise and do significant work if the right supports are there. Again, if schools looked closer at their structures for teaching and learning, we all felt there was room for greater empowerment, professional learning, and service to students with greater shared leadership and revised structures.

It's great to have the opportunity to talk with teachers with depth from school systems other than your own. it's a great way to share ideas, troubleshoot, and move forward with regard to teaching students well. Edcamps, professional associations, and attendance at quality professional conferences are other ways to foster this kind of dialogue.