reflectively assessing my professional goals

Finding Balance – reblog dkerr
Finding Balance
November 19, 2012
By dkerr

So last week during a conversation with a respected mentor of mine, the topic of balance came up………. and it got me thinking. To be honest, I have personally struggled with this for a few years now, and it’s something that I’m just now starting to figure out. Balancing work, family, and all the other aspects of an educator’s life is one of the most difficult challenges that we all face, and I’d like to share a quick story with you (which I’ve embellished a little for effect) to try and help illustrate my point. I shared this as a “pearl” at a PTC course in Miami last summer, and I think it might be pertinent for our environment since we’ve all been working so hard of late.

At the beginning of last year, my first grade son received an assignment from his teacher. Essentially, he had to take home a sheet of A3 paper and a box of crayons, and draw how he saw his father. He was to include all of my hobbies, my passions, what I did with my spare time, and all the rest…..and when I heard of this assignment I was super excited. The first thing that I thought was, “how could he possibly put everything that encapsulated me on to one small sheet of A3 paper?” but regardless, I was looking forward to the end result. It was an assignment that was to be done in class, so everyday for a week I rushed home to see if the finished product was in his school bag. Finally, after five agonizing days of waiting, I arrived home to see him holding the finished masterpiece in his little hands. I told him to sit down on the couch and wait for me while I poured a big drink (since I knew it would take a long time to go through all the amazing things that he had drawn), and then we’d go through the assignment together. Well, we sat down, he handed me the paper, and I opened it up with frenzied anticipation. There on the paper, much to my shock and surprise, was a simple black stick man holding a yellow computer………and I nearly collapsed to the floor. (Connected Principals)


“change isn’t about… @okmbio reblog

Example of healthy changes in personal growth and PRoDevelopment. Sounds great @okmbio 🙂


Change isn’t about what I can’t say, it is about what I can say.

Change is not about what I can’t impact and control, it is about impacting with intention what I can.


A Fine Balance

I participated in my very first EdCamp at Delta Secondary School in Vancouver B.C. on Saturday. The day was a whirlwind, full to brimming with conversations ideas, and joy.  As it was my first, I was uncertain about the outcome; I had heard of EdCamps but wondered if one day of conversation could have REAL impact on me and my practice. I have been to Pro-D days where by 1 PM, I get a “I need a nap” attack and feel drained, checked out and antsy by the end of the day.

This was different.

The day was full of light, brightness and solidified my belief in the transformative power of connection.

The bag of rocks I have dragging behind me lately vaporized and vanished. The weight of struggling to change, lightened and lifted. The cloudiness of vision brightened and cleared.

The day was a celebration of a culture based on support…

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Professional Growth Plans- accountability and journey

So it’s another time to craft another professional growth plan.

Are you paused or in fast-forward?

Are you stuck in the middle of the road? Ever wonder how you make a difference in this hectic education realm? I do not resist the evaluation task but rather relish it… my mother once told me when you get to an age, you are free to be yourself, even it appears insane to all others…:-)

I do this each year, even if I’m not required to, but this year I thought I would add a more participatory component to my experience. It’s an added risk and even daunting task because now I must articulate what I usually just spiral around in my head as I contemplate my personal goals, my professional role as a public school teacher-librarian and re-assess my value as an educator as I approach the twilight of a challenging and rewarding career. Firstly, I must acknowledge my employer and administrators who support the PGP model of teacher evaluation. For specialists teacher particularly this is a very progressive and valuable change from the old ‘teacher observation’ regimen that was the norm. Not only is it more productive for me but I believe it is a superior and more accountable model to nurture profession growth in our educators than simply judging individuals on a random snapshot of classroom time, records, and such… teaching is more an art than a science. Measuring teacher worth or competency by a test or an observation is a shallow and ineffective exercise. If evaluating administrators or executives by assessing ‘growth plans’ is an effective device, so should it be for teachers who must juggle the dynamics of a modern classroom mandate.

I’m drafting my plans for this years’ PGP presentation. I was considering a few themes. Obviously I have passion inn the value of librarianship and the concept of learning commons in high schools but I was also considering a collaborative plan that would build a guide and anecdotes about the role of the web and social media for the classroom teacher. I receive dozens of questions and requests for ideas and advise about websites, blogs, Twitter etc with regards to instructional design and it just seem spragmatic to build something that would contribute to the mix. On another note, I am entering the twilight years of my career and wonder about a more reflective project that might survey the changes I’ve seen recently and offer up thoughts and strategies for the professional educator. Either way, I’m open to ideas, collaborations and feedback. I have several months to write this project and develop some material and experiences to work on. New colleague or old mate, I’m listening and reflecting.

I just listened to a podcast and reopened an old file from 2010. I submitted ab old post to CBC Spark January 2010 for a discussion about meaning in the new digital workplace and it prodded some old questions about professionalism in an age when public education is under critique and tradition methods are under attack. [audio:]

How much has changed? evolved? I’d say not much. I see some innovative , motivated and talented young colleagues beginning to tackle new approaches to strengthen their teaching methods and support students in new ways. I also see some very old habits. I see the need for better teacher professional growth. Teacher well being and student success is dependent upon it. Teachers cannot continue to do more and more- , with less. We need to remain healthy and skilled. A PGP process helps.

Our professional culture, our instructional support and our PD models need new approaches. The encouraging news to me, is there are some brilliant and amazingly innovative thinkers, along with progressive 21stC educators, offering up solutions, sharing and hope.

Questions that George Couros has raised for this very topic of growth….

1. Educator professional growth plans should lead directly to improved student learning.

2. A collaborative school culture helps to promote the best professional growth.

3. Growth plans are educator specific and meets the needs of the individual.

4. Professional development opportunities will thrive if they are given school support.