Recently, I came across a graphic on Twitter that put teachers and how they are as learners into 3 categories. Here is my perspective on where I have been throughout my career:
When I first started teaching, I definitely fell into the “Unintentional” category, meaning I didn’t read EDU blogs, subscribe to educational journals, and felt isolated since I was one of the only (or the only) French teachers in my school. I didn’t tweet or blog, because, at the time, in the early 2000’s, there was none of that going on! I didn’t write for professional journals, which was a possibility. I did, however, attend state and national conferences from very early in my career.
For many years, I was the “Engaged” teacher. I was still mostly isolated (but did engage more with my departmental colleagues and sometimes with other teachers in the building (often depending on their proximity to my room!) I still didn’t tweet (didn’t get my own account until about a year ago!) or listen to EDU podcasts. I attended school/district PD but was often passive and didn’t often implement what I learned into my instructional strategies. I did attend 1-2 workshops on new teaching strategies such as TPRS (Total Physical Response Storytelling) or Differentiated Instruction, if it was paid for by my school or free.
Today, I am proud to say that I fall into the “Empowered” category. I’m connected to many EDU leaders nationwide through Twitter, follow their blogs and listen to their podcasts. I have bought several EDU books in the past 6 months based on things I’ve heard by listening and reading. Not only am I positive about district PD, I soak it up! I’m fortunate that my district offers varied PD sessions monthly, and there are many opportunities for me to learn something new. Whenever a class gets cancelled due to low enrollment, it’s disappointing! I attend as many conferences as possible, and have spoken at several outside my subject-at my own expense. In addition, I have inspired other colleagues to learn more about things that can help them in wherever they are in their teaching and learning journey.
I hope this reflection inspires you to pursue what can move you from “Unintentional” to “Engaged” or from “Engaged” to “Empowered”. Reach out or comment if you’re interested in discussing this further!