|Are you getting much from a mandatory professional development day
on a regular basis?
While you may not have much control over those mandatory professional development days, you can most certainly control your professional development in other aspects. You are reading this and you most likely are reading other educational blogs, perhaps even writing your own. You are probably engaged in social media as a professional and listening to podcasts. Are you engaging in meaningful conversations and planning with your colleagues? Are you attending local events hosted by educational groups? Are you going to large events like ISTE, Spring CUE, or other regional and national conferences? Are you connecting with educators outside of your school or district? If you aren't you are missing an opportunity to take ownership of your professional development.
When you immerse yourself in some or all of the items above, you are giving yourself the choice in what you want to learn more about. When you make the choice, you are not fed something that you most likely know or will not engage with during the training. And if you choose to read something, listen to something, or attend something and don't like it, you have the choice to move on to something else.
Now don't get me wrong, there are times when the mandatory trainings are very important. You should not tune out in a meeting that is introducing a new school or district policy. You should pay attention during the test security meetings so you know what not to do when proctoring a high stakes test (opinions on testing, while valid, definitely for another time). But if you have been in education for any amount of time, you have most likely sat in many trainings where they simply did not speak to you.
So, are you ready to embrace a DIY attitude and take control of your professional development? Are you ready to rely on yourself to learn rather than whatever is thrown at your on those mandatory days? I know you are! Find some blogs and podcasts (and even better, write and create your own and share!), connect with other educators on social media, find some local events to attend, and every now and then, pony up some cash and go to a big event outside of your area, or see if your school or district will pay to send you to something; the worst that can happen, if you ask, is that they say no!
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