Reflecting on the Past and Continuing to Grow as a Professional

In the mid-1980’s after becoming a teacher with my own classroom, finding a learning community to think and reflect with was difficult.  I wonder what I might have changed, given the chance to work with colleagues, and how I could have been an even better educator.

My thoughts wandered to that place again last week while I was in a meeting with my AIMS colleagues. One of them shared that she had recently attended a conference and a take-away from that experience was that professionals get to, and need to, advocate for change in their field.  She also mentioned that the closing session encouraged educators to engage in a “discourse of possibilities and positive change.” That definitely resonated with me and I would hope that teachers actively advocate for change during their careers.  I also hope that teachers will search for and take advantage of any and all professional learning opportunities that come along!

Usually my “go to” place for inspiration, advice, and current ideas is Learning Forward, the professional learning association of which I am a member (formerly the National Staff Development Council).  As the Director of Professional Learning for the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education, I rely on Learning Forward’s Standards for Professional Learning, their Journal of Staff Development (JSD), and resources on their website  These assist me in keeping the Professional Learning Division at AIMS engaged in a discourse of issues, trends, and possibilities in the field.  As a professional learning community of our own, our team reads articles or publications by Learning Forward and then we take the time to reflect on them together.  This process helps us to continually improve our skills for facilitating math or science professional learning opportunities.

In the August issue of JSD, I read an article that I knew I wanted to share. It inspired me to reflect back to my classroom days and made me yearn to have had such a professional “go to” place when I was a young “Learning Community” seeking educator.  The article was entitled, “TWITTERPATED – I Found My Learning Community.  You Can, Too.”

Reading the article, I realized that I have a second professional learning community that feeds me.  I follow what I call the young math and science education superstars on Twitter. They fuel my want for more learning and I am happy to be part of the community. This is a quote from the JSD article that describes why I follow a group of young math and science educators, “By their nature, they create a sense of collective responsibility and mutual accountability for shared improvement.”

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