Teaching isn’t just a job for me, it’s a calling – a career I’ve always wanted and one I am deeply proud of. I’m passionate about my profession and I make an effort to improve upon and add to my pedagogical repertoire on a daily basis. As someone famous once said, “The best teachers are also the best learners,” and I strive to learn as much as I can about education in the 21st century.
In order to become a better educator, I suggest that teachers and administrators do the following:
1. Stay Connected via Social Media – The education community is thriving on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (to a lesser extent). I credit my Personal Learning Network (PLN) for keeping me abreast of the latest education technology trends and pedagogical strategies. Professional development on Twitter has been a game-changer for me and I highly recommend you read the graphic below and join us. I also wrote about the awesome power of Twitter PD here.
2. Read and Discuss Professional Literature on a Daily Basis – This can be in the form of the most recent education books, journal articles, and blog posts. My goal is to read 25 pages a day. Some days I read more and some days I read less, but it evens out over the course of the year. Read the following article for more information on how to read more, “The Simple Plan To Read More”.
Some of my favorite titles read are:
The End of Average by Todd Rose
The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath
The Formative Five by Thomas R. Hoerr
Originals: How Non-Conformists Rule the World by Adam Grant
Dive Into Inquiry: Amplify Learning and Empower Student Voice by Trevor MacKenzie
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith
Start a book club at your school in order to collaborate with colleagues as you dive deeper into the books you read. Can’t find anyone to join you? Head over to Twitter and/or Voxer to join one of the hundreds of book chats currently underway. You can connect and collaborate with like-minded educators while discussing the latest thought-provoking titles. This is a true game-changer!
3. Blog Consistently – I make an effort to write a blog post per week, and this helps to keep my creative juices flowing and allows me to share some of the innovative teaching strategies (with and without tech) I use with the rest of the education community around the world. I find the process of writing to be therapeutic and it allows me to record important events in my career, reflect upon them and set goals for the future. I only wish I wrote more frequently and was happy to come across this blogging challenge:
30 Days of Blogging Challenge (are you in?)
Why don’t you join us?
4. Share Your Work – My goal for 2016 was to present and speak at education conferences, workshops, and PD courses at least once a month. By pushing myself to write proposals to local, regional, national and international conferences, I have been able to meet and exceed that goal. This has greatly inspired and invigorated my teaching and leadership. I’m excited and honored to be speaking at my first international conference this June at ISTE 2017 in San Antonio.
5. Maximize Face-To-Face (F2F) Interactions – I believe it’s really important for educators to spend time with other members of our profession. It is refreshing to step out of the comfort zone of one’s school or district and meet teachers from different locales. I do this by attending education conferences, workshops, and EdCamps by myself so I’m forced to make new connections. Social media makes it easy to keep in touch with each other and continue to share innovative teaching ideas throughout the school year. I’ve made many valuable connections this way.
I’m sure there are many other ways you stay current in your teaching and keep the learning going 365 days a year. Please leave a comment on this post if you’d like to add to the list I’ve started.