I watched “Hidden Figures” on a plane ride home after facilitating a recent workshop. I am not real comfortable blatantly crying on a plane, but this time it did not matter!! While the film made me realize I have never been so sure that the work I do and the profession I chose thirty-five years ago was right. No, it has not taken me this long to figure that out, but at times being given a resonating message is a good thing. Watching this movie hit in my core. I was a young girl during the civil rights movement, and I was raised knowing that race or the colors of skin are not things that dictate how I should perceive another human. My tears were because of the shear fact that it is even still possible that the minds of some may not be given opportunities, or be left unnoticed because of civil ignorance and inequity.
“Hidden Figures” presented me with the opportunity to reflect on the Professional Learning (PL) work we do at the AIMS Center. AIMS Facilitators help teachers discover a path to a better-engaged and active classroom around mathematics and science. Working, sharing, and collaborating with teachers to develop and change their teaching practices allows them opportunities to make an even bigger difference while in the teaching profession. PL is the most impactful way to change one’s classroom teaching practices. When a teacher works on his or her own professional development, growth happens, and doors can be opened. A teacher’s growth adds strength to what he/she brings to a student’s classroom experience. Therefore, leaving no child’s thinking abilities to go unnoticed or remain unopened. AIMS PL provides opportunities to educators to invest in themselves as educators, and to the futures of the children they teach.
The current school year is quickly coming to a close. First, take a breath and spend a bit of time on yourself, but don’t pass up the opportunity to refresh your professional juices. Have you made plans for what you will do during your break to engage in your own professional development? Talk to your colleagues and make plans together. I am passionate about this and believe that every teacher I know makes a difference in the lives of the children they teach. By bettering ourselves professionally we better the students we teach. Find a way to open doors for them and allow them to shine with their talents, but first, honor yourself and shine with your talents. I would be delighted to have a dialog with you about your own PL summer plans. Just as in the example put forth in the movie “Hidden Figures”, it is our job to make sure that we never learn about amazing mathematical thinkers after the fact. If you were moved by the film like I was, be active and participate in your own Professional Learning. That educators, will ensure we never supply movie makers with any movie worthy stories.