Focus on Professional Learning

Have you ever wondered why most professional development seems that it is happening to you without your being truly involved?. Even coaching is based on directions from a coach or mentor. But if a teacher or administrator learns how to focus on themselves and their own professional learning; how to reflect; question where they are now; write goals; and plan how they might meet those goals, then they can design an effective and relevant professional development that meets their needs.

Focusing is difficult when you are as busy as most teachers and administrators. This takes practice. I'm a real multi-tasker. Learning to focus was my first goal. I realized that this is a professional and personal goal.

I start every morning writing three pages called Morning Pages. This helps me focus and reflect on my life. I got this idea from a book called "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron.

At first writing three pages seemed overwhelming and very difficult for me to stick with. I started writing in a journal but could not decipher my handwriting. Wait a minute! I use eCoach, so I decided to set up a personal journal using the eCoach blogging tool. I set the access level to personal so no one else can see it. Each post is a new question; some focusing on my own professional learning and some on my personal life.

Here's some questions teachers might want to think about:

  • What can I do to improve my teaching practice?
  • How can I find the gaps in my teaching that is affecting student achievement?
  • How do my goals align to my school or district goals?
  • How do I know which goals are crucial for my own professional growth and also meet the needs of my students?
  • How do I find time to meet my goals during the school day?
  • How can I add time to meet some of my goals after-school without taking over my personal life?

After you have a clear idea of the goals you want to attain, then you can design how you plan to meet these goals. If you are part of a coaching and mentoring program, you can share these goals with your coach and work together to help you meet those goals. If your program is online, the eCoach can work as a guide pointing the way to find what you need. The eCoach now has a blueprint to work from and can design a WRL with research on your focus area, can encourage discussions around similar goals, and can knock on the mentee's virtual door to invite them back online. This is a great way to develop a relationship built on trust.

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