Monday, June 9, 2014

Professional Development in 2014

As most teachers, I sit here on June 9th looking back through my blog and realizing I haven't posted since November. How does that happen? How do we walk into our classrooms in August and wake up in May? I know you can relate but I had grand aspirations to really develop my blog, but "doing school" just kept getting in the way.

Well friends, school is out (at least for most of us, even though I am still plugging away at summer school) and it is with renewed vigor that I am posting to this blog again. The topic at hand today is Professional Development and what it means in 2014. I know many of you dread the early release and whole day PD sessions throughout the year, the book studies, the videos to watch and reflections to type. However, we all know that this kind of learning is important and it drives us to become better teachers. I am personally lucky to have an amazing principal who is a master at instructional leadership and PD. You won't be grading papers or cutting out lamination at our PD if you know what I'm saying. I know this is not the case for many of us.

What do you do if you are hungry for professional development but your district does not provide quality PD or is not willing to send you to the expensive off site PD sessions? The answer is simple... bring the world to your door.

Even though I am blessed to have great PD on demand, I have reached outside my district to search out those great minds that are "doing school" well. I have brought the world of teaching into my classroom by way of social media. I have  Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and FaceBook accounts that I use to track great teachers. I am sure most of you have one or many of these accounts for personal business, but have you thought of the power of these accounts professionally?

If you are a blog stalker like me, most of these bloggers also have social networking accounts. Try searching them out on other platforms. Believe it or not I have had great luck with following teachers on Instagram. They post previews to their blogs, pictures of their classrooms or current projects, and books their reading aloud. It has been a wonderful addition to my PD profile. Some of these bloggers even have special offers (for their TpT accounts) for only their FB or Instagram followers.

I will admit that I am a new Twitter user, I have worked to develop my PLN (professional learning network) and follow many great teachers. However, I was just a troller and didn't feel like I was a real contributor. A colleague of mine Brian McDavitt (click to check out his blog) is an avid Twitter fan and turned me on to #edchats. If you are a Missouri teacher, I suggest you check out #MOedchat on Thursday's from 9-10 (CST). Administrators of this chat select a theme and post about one question every 10 minutes for the hour. You post your answer and interact with others through discussion. It is a great opportunity to meet other teachers, expand your PLN, and bring powerful PD right to your living room. At one point while my husband was watching the NBA finals, he looked up and said "really you need two devices"..."umm yeah I do", was my response. As you can see below we were even trending!
If you you aren't on twitter you need to be! Follow me @jyoung711 I am sure each state has their own #edchat. If you don't have access to great PD then here is a place to start. A plus side is your post can only be 140 characters so no chance to get bored! But more importantly on any of these platforms you can ask questions and get answers quickly from someone who has already figured it out. If they can't answer your question then they can point you in the right direction in the form of people, articles, blogs, or websites.

The world is waiting for you...take a step toward bringing it inside your classroom. 

I'd love to hear how you connect to great teachers. Feel free to comment below.

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