- Every teacher must accept personal responsibility for his/her professional growth.
- Reflective practice supports ongoing learning.
- Teachers must be involved in collaborative learning experiences in a Professional Learning
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I do not get to attend all of the workshops I would like to, so most of my professional growth comes from reading. I try to keep up with the latest trends since I also teach teacher education courses. I try to mix it up once in a while, and teach different books. I get a lot of ideas from enotes, actually! Sometimes I will anwer a student's question and it will remind me of something I have not used before.
My professional growth plan usually centers around the professional development work my school disctrict is doing and the work we do as a professional learning community. In the short term, my plan is to implement more high-engagement activities in my classroom and continue to focus on my students' weak areas. In the long-term, my plan is to make sure that my students are prepared for college and career by looking at the skills they need in my classrooom to be successful in the future.
My PLC is constantly meeting and reflecting on our practices to determine what works and what doesn't. Today, for example, we looked at last year's test data to analyze our weaknesses and we came up with a tangible plan for what we were going to do to improve on our weaknesses. I fimly believe that a teacher's work is never done and we need to be constantly changing and adapting!
As with an earlier post, most of my professional development is done on my own and at my own expense. Continuing education classes keep me current with the changing trends in my field. Being proactive and positive with regard to required changes is essential. Our state is transitioning from state mandated Course Level Expectations to the Common Core State Standards. This changeover has not happened, but it is coming. I attend every training, I work on my own, and frequently when new trainings come up, I have already begun to familiarize myself with the topic.
Remember that I am retired now which may change my view of this question. My Professional Growth Plan always revolved around what my students needed and what my weaknesses were as a teacher. One of my weaknesses was getting all the students in a small group project to do their share of the work. I read everything I could find, talked to other teachers and practiced. I had a different student each week take one day and mark who I called on for answers. I had students write down the questions or directions I gave. I asked the class to evaluate my directions and how I could make them clearer. I did the Kagan training and found many of the ideas which worked for me to make each student responsible for their fair share of the work. I worked with the younger teachers in English both observing them and having them observe me. Then we talked about how to make us better at this skill. I learned as much from them as they learned from me, making us all better teachers. The key is to want to be better, find what you need to improve and then work to accomplish your goal. Even after 35 years of teaching, there is always something new to learn.
This is my eighth year as a public school educator, but my first with our new evaluation system based on the recent changes in legislation at the federal and state levels with respect to accountability and student performance. In the past, my personal goals were linked with department/grade level goals and, ultimately, the school goals. As a member of the school improvement team, I collaborated with other grade level/ department team leaders and our administration to create school goals within the perameters and recommendations set by our state department of education, then worked within my specific team to create goals to support the school goals, and finally, creted individual goals that supported the team goals. However, under the new system, my Professional Growth Plan and Portfolio are unique to my specific position and directly tied to student data. While high-stakes, standardized assessments do play a role, teacher formative assessment and anecdotal data are also considered. I used the data collected on the average student reading fluency from the first marking period to create an achievable yet rigorous goal for incremental increases in reading speed and accuracy throughout the school yet. I submit evidence in my portfolio to show the data anlysis I am doing and how it is informig my instruction to my observing administrator, and then will be evaluated at the end of the year.
My evaluation is highly invested in the Common Core State Standards, so my professional growth has been around coming to grips with what those standards are about and how to infuse those in my classrooom. I've mentioned this in a few other posts, and I should really start a thread for discussion around it as well, but I am part of the LDC (Literacy Design Collaborative), which was created in order to help instructors with an avenue and method of teaching the Common Core. This was really designed by teachers for teachers, particularly non-literacy or English Language Arts teachers. But if there is to be a major focus on literacy in non-fiction and skills centering on evidence gathering and critical thinking and persuasion, then all teachers need to be a part of that movement.
My professional growth has pushed me towards LDC and creating "modules", independently and collaboratively with other teachers in the district / country. What the module allows me to provide is a direction for my evaluator, a day by day breakdown of my instruction, the specific core and state standards that I am addressing with each day, and the formative product, which is better than any other produce I've been able to get my students to produce, that functions as the necessary data for me to guide my instruction and have a discussion with my evaluator. With each module, I know I am directly hooked into common core and that I am doing the necessary instruction for my students to be successful. Thus, my evaluation and growth plans are aligned and positive.
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