In recent years I have undertaken a lot of my own personalised professional development. A significant part of this has been through my reading in various guises. Whether it’s been reading blogs, reading books, educational magazines or through engaging in sharing my own findings through my own practice online via social media such as Twitter. I have developed my career to a position which is almost unrecognisable to where I was in my career six years ago.
It was two years ago, after a suggestion from my Deputy Headteacher at the time, I joined Twitter setting up a professional account. Initially, I thought this idea was odd and I couldn’t understand the link between social media and professional development?!
However, quickly after signing up I found there were lots of teachers online to follow that were tweeting about teaching and blogging about their classroom, differentiation, growth mindset, leadership – if it was connected to education someone, somewhere was writing about it! This was a revelation to me. At first, I was a reluctant tweeter, instead just absorbing all the advice, words of wisdom and experience that teachers were sharing so freely and openly. Every time I logged into Twitter I learnt something new and found a new educator to connect with. I continually learn from others and gain inspiration from the teaching community online.
Eventually, I started sharing some of the ideas and resources that I had been using in my classroom with my pupils. Teachers would like and retweet and provide feedback. Then teachers would get in touch to say they had used or adapted my resource to use with their pupils. This was amazing and filled me with pride knowing I was having a small influence inside a classroom in a different part of the world, with teachers and pupils I had never even met! This sharing online then led to being asked to share my ideas at events such as TeachMeet and conferences. Last year, I decided that 140 characters was not enough to be able to fully explain the concept and context behind the resources I was sharing, so I then set up my own teaching blog lovetoteach87.com. Blogging is wonderful. It allows me to share what happens in my classroom with the rest of the world. Blogging is also great for reflecting and I think that is key to getting better and continually improving – being a reflective teacher. I reflect about what worked well, how the lesson or parts of the lesson could be improved, I carry out research and I feel I am continuing to grow and process as a teacher as a result.
Finally, my main advice for getting better at getting better is to take control of your own personalised professional development. Get connected online as it provides professional development at your fingertips. Read as much as you can from blogs, magazines and books – dedicate the time to reading and reflecting. Build your professional learning network, this can be online or through face to face interaction. Also, getting better at what we do is part of the ongoing learning process, it is never ending so it is for us to decide which career path we take and we can take more control of that.
By: Kate Jones Brighton College Al Ain.