Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk at length to an educator who has worked in many different areas of the profession throughout his tenure.
He supported the idea that every educator should have a five-year plan, and that educators should not hold themselves back, but instead continually seek the next challenge in ways that matter.
One problem with our profession in general is that the structure offers little forward movement. That's why I favor the work currently in place to support teacher leadership and growth. I believe that a more dynamic, participatory school structure that promotes shared leadership will create greater opportunity for professional growth and change over the years for education professionals, and those opportunities will, in turn, create more a dynamic teaching/learning infrastructure.
This wise educator also discussed the difference between management and leadership. He highly recommended that every educator read and apply the wisdom of Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, as they teach, lead, and learn. Further, he discussed the importance of not sharing your path with too many as when you share with too many some are likely to hinder your growth and movement for a number of reasons, but, of course, it's helpful to share your path with those that you trust and those that support you.
It's important to take some time out to think about your path as a professional educator. It's also important not to hold yourself back because no one is promoting your growth, you fall into a group that's less supported than other groups, you're afraid, or you don't think you have the resources. As this educator said, it takes courage to move forward in any field, and if you're willing to take courageous steps you will never look back with regret.
These are important matters to consider no matter where you currently stand as an educator. We live in a time where there is a large array of opportunity available for education study and growth. Where will your path take you? What is your five-year plan?