It's a new year! And this one is going to be busy, but also full of exciting adventures. 2016 ended with a bang for me when National Geographic chose me as their Educator of the Week. Click below to view the blog and my video.
Like a pro athlete, teachers need a structured conditioning plan to stay at the top of their game. In education jargon, it's called Professional Development. But I prefer to think of it as mind and skill expansion. I have to renew my National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification in Biology this year, so that will require me to do some deep thinking and examination of my craft. That's code for I'm going to have to design some exceptional lesson plans, implement them, and write a 100 page paper all about it. Oh yeah, and I have to video the whole hot mess. The good news is students are always supportive and exhibit their very best behavior during these highly stressful events. But I'm ready for the process because I've spent this past year as a Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow (I only cried twice), presented at a teacher inservice (no one booed me) and earned my National Geographic Certification (and I never even had to take off my top). I've been upstyling my teaching all year, now I just need to cement the implementation, analyze the data, and explore the impact.
I find many of my colleagues roll their eyes when the topic of professional development and training comes up. And to be fair, I have attended a fair number of mind-numbingly terrible workshops. Picture a trainer flashing the lights to quiet everyone, or requiring everyone to clap in affirmation everytime someone "shares out." Or how about the workshop where you were required to start every sentence with either "what if" or "how about?" How about you refund the $300 I paid for this workshop?? This is why I believe it's on you to find the best opportunities to build and develop your skill set. Every year I seek out opportunities to experience new ideas, places and people so I can engage my students with current, relevant, and valuable information and opportunities.
So with that in mind, I'm hoping for a few workshops that might address some of my weak areas. I've come up with a list of potential workshops that might really help me out:
1. How to build your own tech jammer device - those kids will be looking up now!
2. How to teach on 600 calories a day (plus coffee).
3. Harnessing the lack of power from sleepless nights.
4. Use date-driven practices for sharing your flu virus with the whole class.
5. Teaching students how to compute their grade when you use percent categories.
6. Navigating the parent teacher conference you never wanted to participate in to begin with.
7. Learn how to write comments that say so much without saying much at all.
8. Make instructional videos with snapchat filters to engage students.
9. How to teach for a week using nothing but internet memes.
10. Yes, you can tweak the space time continuum to increase the amount of time in your day!
How do you want to grow professionally this year? What branches need to be added to your tree?
About this Blog:
I am a former Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow, a program of the U.S. Department of State. I have completed graduate level training in Global Education and traveled to Senegal in April with the program to explore their educational system. This blog is a piece of the global education guide I have created to support other teachers and students in globalizing their classrooms. My focus area is life and environmental science and understanding the interconnectedness of Earth. For more information on the fellowship please visit the IREX website.