I have always been a reflective learner and thinker. When I began teaching, I had a long drive to and from work, and I used that 45 minutes to think on the day and its lessons--my lessons--and how students had learned or become engaged. So when reflecting became a mandatory part of our teacher portfolio each year, I thought No problem. This is amazing. And did I ever reflect. I liked knowing that the person who evaluated me was getting to see such a valuable piece of teaching that was beyond the reach of a classroom observation. And I'll just say right now, this is one reason why [NERD ALERT] I like writing my IDP. I want my colleagues and evaluators to know more about my teaching. Reflection is a critical part of teaching that takes place all behind the scenes.
And this takes me to professional development. I've always liked professional development, including the time we played with marbles or had to put on skits and even the time I had one of my most embarrassing moments with all the English teachers in the district present. Nope, not getting that one out of me. But the key to professional development, for me anyway, is having time to process all the learning, to really anchor it in with my current knowledge and understanding. I'm sorry to say I haven't always had that time. I'm lucky to have been able to work in two districts that so value professional development and really lucky that the second one allows me more time to do the reflecting.
So when I attended Mary and Jennifer's LearnShop on Friday--Developmental Education: Teaching Learning Strategies and Critical Thinking--I was happy to get time to think and reflect during the time there, on the drive home, and over the course of the weekend. I already applied what I learned to one of my courses. As my friend Alisa Cooper said, "Learning is my passion...[and]...I want to learn new things." I will continue to take advantage of as much professional development as I can and, if able, share it with people who want to hear about it.