This last week, I had the amazing opportunity to be on a curriculum review committee in my school district! To me, this is an opportunity to read about best practice, look for great resources or lesson plans, and best of all, to plan with peers, who are teaching the same topics. Planning collaboratively is when the best ideas come about! Sharing tips, tricks and lessons that worked are the best part of teaching! We have autonomy to change our plans, the structure, or the lesson standards to best meet student needs. Talk about creative freedom!
Curriculum reviews are very touchy subjects when it comes to teachers though, because it means that they might, or more likely, will, have to change their lesson plans, their projects and maybe topics within their curriculum.
It comes as no surprise to us teacher that teachers don't love change! We all know colleagues who ask, "Why are we changing this? I have been teaching this for a long time, and it is still working just fine." Or "Why do I have to change? What is wrong with these kids that they aren't grasping the material?". During our first couple of meetings, those very ideas surfaced.
The truth is, like most other professions, there are professional responsibilities that we need to embrace if we are going to be professionals. For me, that is being connected to best practice research based learning strategies. Learning about reading strategies, or technology integration strategies, or honing my skills in teaching digital citizenship, or research tools.
The best way to stay informed in our profession is to become a Connected Educator. I can't tell you how many more articles, ideas and posts I have been reading since I have become connected. Being connected means that you are reaching out to other educators and listening to and sharing ideas, through Twitter, Edmodo, Facebook, RSS feeders or reading blogs by respected members of our profession.
Some educators are the kind that always have professional reading on their desks, and are interested in honing their craft, changing their management style, embracing technology to allow students to connect outside the classroom walls, looking at the newest best practices based on new research. Then, there are the others who are simply not reading about best practice in their profession at all.
What if your doctor never read about new discoveries in disease control, or drug interactions? What if your mechanic didn't stay abreast of the newest technologies in your car? What if the architects didn't change plans or ideas based on new research and materials on earthquakes or hurricanes?
If you are not reading about how our students's learning styles are changing, the Common Core Standards or the personalizing of education movement, or how to embrace the power of technology in your classroom, then you are not fulfilling your responsibilities as a professional.
Get connected. Read. Grow. Change. Be a professional.