Saturday, February 14, 2009

The True Role of Professional Development

A few weeks ago I met with one of the instructional coaches at AHS, Ray Hawthorne. He is not the guy that comes and evaluates you to offer you a job next year. Instead, he is there to help teachers become better teachers in concrete, productive ways (I hope I wrote that out right Ray). Anyway I had a great conversation with him about how to improve instruction in the classroom, and what that looks like at AHS. I really look forward to having a few more conversations in the future and having him come into my classroom in the future.

One thing we talked about was setting one goal and trying to improve upon that through observing and then exploring new and different ideas. He told me about an educator that focused on learning and implementing one new thing every year. After thirty years she had learned and applied thirty new things to teaching and her instruction had improved that much.

He really had some good thoughts on teaching and reminded me that teaching is not about us – it is about the students and them learning. We also talked about how not being perfect is ok. That really spoke to me, because of the high expectations I set for myself and of the school and my cooperating teachers.

Finally, he reminded me to reflect on these questions:

1.) What did I do well?

2.) What is one change I would make?

I need to embrace what went well, as long as what did not go as well. That is not easy to do on a bad day with the critical mind that I have, although, I will try Ray. Thanks for your words.