Friday, April 15, 2016

Are we as open to new learning as we think we are?

I'm spending a few days in Sydney before conducting professional development elsewhere in Australia. Last night, I had the privilege of meeting a former "Twitter-only" friend in person for drinks and dinner. The wine flowed, and so did provocative conversation. In reflecting upon my lovely evening, I've come to wonder - as educators, do we really believe in lifelong learning? Do we model that in our words and deeds?

Think about it. I flew halfway around the world and met up with a person I'd never laid eyes on before. And we had so much to share! It took me an hour or more to wind down when I returned to my hotel because I was so stimulated by all the ideas that she offered - plus the ones we co-created. Obviously she and I are both very committed to the idea that teachers need to learn and grow throughout their careers. But I began to wonder.... what do teachers do to move their own learning forward?

I know more than one teacher who takes pride in not reading professional books. Other teachers claim that they don't grade papers or plan lessons at home. These teachers are doing a disservice to the profession I both love and revere. Why is it okay to be an educator and say that you don't put in extra time to learn, reflect, and grow?

I went kicking and screaming into Twitter. I hate it when I have to upgrade a phone or laptop. Am I an old dog who finds it hard to learn new tricks? Absolutely. But to not learn new tricks would make me a fraud. I'm a teacher. I need to learn something new every day.

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