This post has been rumbling around my head for the last couple of weeks and I've finally been able to put some perspective around my thoughts on professional learning. I believe strongly that everyone in education has a responsibility for continuous learning. This includes senior administration, administrators, teachers, support staff, custodians and facility services workers. What this looks like from an individual perspective can be much different. Some may choose to attend conferences while others may decide to read journals, work with a mentor or even take courses. The value of committing to ongoing professional learning is that you accept the idea that in order to bring your best to the people you work with, there is always something that can be improved.
In my experience being open to learning is not always the case and this challenges me on a professional level. How can I as an administrator help those I work with that are struggling with learning something new, changing their practice or engaging in professional learning? Here's what I've been mulling over recently as strategies to help educators become open to learning.
- Offer to support or mentor the person as they engage in their professional learning
- Make clear that learning something new is not about them, it's about the pressing needs of their students
- Uncover their passion
- Explore together the many different learning opportunities outside of traditional PD
Most likely there will be someone close to you that is unwilling to change. This is a given. But I also believe that those same people have a passion burning deep inside them, even if it is a small flicker. It is the reason they they became a teacher. The profession called them. I have to believe it. An administrator's responsibility to find a way to support everyone, even those who seem unwilling to move. This is my learning, my problem of practice - how can I motivate teachers that from the surface seem unwilling to be open to learning something new. It will take challenging conversations and applying pressure with support, there is no doubt. But I need to be open to learning how to support these teachers. Our students deserve it.
What are your thoughts? Is there something I haven't mentioned that could help someone be more open to learning? I'd love to hear your thoughts.