One of the prompts for this week’s “short blog challenge” during the Innovator’s Mindset #IMMOOC online book study (Season 3, Week 5):
“How do we share openly and regularly to further our own learning and development?”
That is the question! This is so hard for so many of us to do as educators. Both parts are hard: the “openly” and the “regularly”!
Many teachers find the “openly” part difficult, as it puts us in a perceived place of vulnerability. At the high school level, we rarely collaborate or share our classrooms due to doubt. Will people judge me? What if my lesson doesn’t go perfectly? Why does anyone else care what I have to say? All of these doubts hinder us from engaging in learning and collaboration with others.
For time-strapped teachers, the “regularly” part is also difficult. I just finished sending an email ‘disbanding’ our #IMMOOC book club for the remainder of this season. My colleagues were too overwhelmed trying to meet together weekly, like this whirlwind #IMMOOC challenges us to do. Our group members might be a bit sad that it has come to this, but I’m sure most are ultimately breathing a sigh of relief! Of course, regularly doesn’t have to mean weekly, but, inevitably, regularly becomes occasionally, which often becomes rarely. And sadly, amidst marking and report cards, our own learning and development often is a low priority.
Fortunately, trying out voluntary book studies as a staff has pushed some of our school staff members to further our learning and development. As a result of doing book studies together:
- we’ve tried new literacy activities (Thanks Kylene Beers!).
- we’ve adopted some school wide literacy initiatives, such as a high school wide Word List
- we’ve had great conversations –the kind that never happen as you fly past one another in the hallway at school
- we’ve shared openly and developed new ideas together