A Teacher’s Guide to Professional Learning
In a recent meeting among Instructor magazine’s editors, we talked about the difference between the terms “professional development” and “professional learning.” Becoming “professionally developed” seems so passive, as if it’s something that just happens to you organically over time. And after all, no one shows up to a conference and says, “I’m here, develop me!”
But “professional learning” puts you in the driver’s seat—the teacher as an inquisitive learner. It says, “I’m a master at my trade, but I want to know more.” Interested in exploring the latest literacy trends? Steer yourself this way. Looking to become a principal in the near future? Follow that road around the bend.
So in the spirit of self-directed growth, we devoted an entire section to professional learning in the latest issue of Instructor. Here’s an overview:
- Five Career Paths: While many educators can’t imagine being anywhere other than in classroom, some want to pursue different career opportunities in the field. In Find Your Career Path, we took a look at five education career options—from coaches to consultants—and everything you need to know about each job title. We outlined pay, required education and skills, duties, highlights, and challenges—all with the hopes of helping you find if a job might be right for you. As a bonus, we also included a sidebar of tips for landing these gigs.
- Balancing It All: Between the commitments of work, families, (and what’s that—hobbies?), it might seem impossible to make time for advanced learning, such as graduate school or national certification. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, the article How to Balance It All is for you. One of our experts offers great advice about time management and financial planning. Among our recommendations: Before you begin your endeavor, tell your principal about your new commitment so he or she understands the next time you don’t volunteer to chaperone the school dance.
- Books and Blogs: Growing as a teacher learner doesn’t necessarily mean pursuing a new career path or getting a master’s degree. Meaningful professional learning experiences can come on lazy Sunday mornings curled up with a book or perusing a new blog. Among our many suggestions of teacher resources are the books Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered and You Can Do This: Hope and Help for New Teachers, as well as the blogs Free Technology for Teachers, Teacher in a Strange Land, and MiddleWeb: All About the Middle Grades. Esteemed math educator Marilyn Burns has just launched a blog as well.
No matter which professional roads you take in 2015, we hope these articles will set you in the right direction.