CINDY: The professional development opportunities offered by MCCCD are one of the greatest benefits of our work. During my fifteen years with the district I have attended many workshops, learned all I know about technology, attended a major conference each year, taken a sabbatical, and received summer and MCLI grants. A highlight of my career was being an MIL Fellow and my indoctrination into the scholarship of teaching and learning. Classroom research and reflective practice are now a normal and constant part of my work.
This year I was asked to be a PAR mentor and my professional development took a new and unique turn. On some days it takes place “across the hallway” with my colleague Sherry. Our dining room tables, the patio, a restaurant or two, and GCC patio tables have been the sight of serious professional development sessions, too! Inherently, “brainstorming and talking out ideas” with colleagues is how I best learn and plan for my courses, but somehow I think this relationship was also borne out of the adage “everything old is new again.” I say that because we seem to have similar training and experiences but working with Sherry has helped contemporize and re-energize my classes. In fact, I am finally parting with my mimeographed handouts and omitting or revising lessons (AND even posting them on Canvas! Thanks Sherry!)
Sherry: As I sat in a training listening to Chris explain the essential element of reflecting with my PAR mentor, I was laughing to myself because I am ALWAYS reflecting with my mentor, especially now that we are hallway buddies:) Cindy and I started our venture with our Supercharging 081 grant, which has led to incredible things. I remember my first semester where we had our RDG 081 students read Dracula, and she laughed because I added all the current pop culture vampire themed movies, television shows, and other books. She holds me accountable with her questions, and makes my own reflections define what outcomes I desire for my students.
The last two semesters we have been co-planning our CRE 101 classes. We have even implemented several co-teaching sessions, taking it a step beyond simple observations. Cindy has been a mentor that I can bounce ideas off of, ask numerous questions, make mistakes, disagree with, but most importantly she makes me feel like a valued and respected colleague. It is a give and take relationship….and the true definition of professional development in the sense that our collaborating leads to amazing teaching!!!!
Stay tuned for some specific examples of lesson transformations!!!!