Thursday, July 23, 2015

Professional Development That Has An Impact

Lately I have been thinking a lot about all of the wonderful opportunities I have had available because I am part of the America Achieves Fellowship.  As a fellow I have been working on an impact project, a project that has been my work, not something new, but new opportunities have appeared because of the fellowship and the support and shout outs that the fellowship gives.

One of the things I really admire and appreciate most is the support.  No question at all here!  Regardless of what your impact project is, where it takes you, as a fellow you have complete support.  As an educator I work hard everyday to ensure the best for all of my students and their families.  When things are working well and I see how my work is having an impact it is important to share this work.  When your work is shared other people benefit because they are inspired, question and challenge your thinking and also want to think about how this may or may not work for them.  In the fellowship I have had the opportunity to share my voice and also be inspired by others.  When we have professional opportunities where we can share our passions we are also rethinking and reflecting on our work.  This gives others opportunities to think about a perspective that may or may not offer growth for their own thinking. The fellowship recognizes a variety of perspectives which makes for an incredibly rich "pool" of voices to learn learn alongside of.

One of our talented leaders at America Achieves shares; "We appreciate the hard work that you do every day in your schools and classrooms, and we value this time deeply.   The very essence of these projects is to help you delve deeper into something you are already working closely on, so that we can support you in advancing and sharing the work you care about."

Professional development needs to be fluid and ongoing.   As a professional growth is vital and important.  I need to be able to question what I am doing and why.  When you are involved in work that that inspires you, you are able and excited to share and be reflective.  Professional opportunities arise through your ability to be transparent and reach out to others. Synchronous and asynchronous tools are ways we  Being reflective, thinking deeply and asking questions about the what and why we are engaged in provides opportunities for deep thinking. Reflecting with my students about their thoughts on the tools we used really gave me some insight as to what is possible.  This is also true for educators.

My impact project is around family engagement so I am finding ways to not only share my work through social media, blogging and other platforms, but am also beginning to facilitate sessions for my families to help guide and support them in their learning too.  One of the things I am finding out is that the professional work I am involved in with the fellowship is ongoing.  I will be "finished" next spring, but I will always be a fellow and will have access to professional development opportunities as well.  This is one of the things that I like about being a fellow and being involved in a project.  I choose my work/project and I have the ability to create and design learning opportunities throughout my fellowship experience.  This is important because the professional work we are involved in has to be meaningful and of course being passionate only makes it a richer experience.  The work itself is never really complete, but rather it is growing.  As I dive deeper into my thinking I am reminded about how easily ideas can become a reality.

Perspective is important as well.  Every time I walk outside I am reminded about the value of perspective and how we can embrace it or not.  I try to think of how my work can be shared because my path is never ending.  I will always be walking outside in lots of different places learning about my surroundings as I walk.  As an educator I will also be continually learning and reflecting.  For me it is important to embrace challenges, engage in professional development that supports your thinking and also offers a different perspective of what could be.

As an America Achieves Fellow I am encouraged, supported and inspired to pursue my work, access resources to support my work, engage in what matters and what I am passionate about.  This is what is important about professional development, having choice and the time and resources to help support what is important. I am continually grateful and reminded often about how vital meaningful professional development can impact change and offer opportunities to grow.

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