In November 2005, David Warlick blogged Ok, No More Staff Development. In February 2006, I sent an email to faculty at my school sharing the link. If they chose to skip the blog, I shared the portion which struck me as most relevant:
…need to strive for a school environment where teachers:
• Have the time to reflect and retool (at least three hours a day),
• Have ready access to local and global ideas and resources that are logically and socially indexed,
• have the skills to research, evaluate, collaborate, remix, and implement new tools and techniques (contemporary literacy),
• Are part of an ongoing professional conversation where the expressed purpose is to provoke change (adapt),
• Leave the school from time to time to have their heads turned by new experiences,
• Share what they and their students are doing with what they teach and learn – their information products and relics of learning become an explicit and irresistibly interwoven part of the school’s culture.
If we are trying to help our students to become life-long-learners, then this is what teachers should be right now. The question, “Who’s going to teach me to do that?” should be replaced with “I’m going to teach myself to do that!”
I am in the midst of doing a massive clean out of my desk space. Several times a year I get an overwhelming urge to pare down “stuff”, and this current not-quite-mid-August motivation is that school begins in just three weeks. And so it was that I came upon my yellowed print out from Friday, February 17, 2006.
Warlick’s post made an impression upon me because, despite all the other formal and informal titles that describe my job, I see myself as a professional development provider. For myself and my colleagues, if we teach, then we must learn. We must model what it means to be ongoing, life long learners, complete with our failures, for it is from our failures – our goofs and mess ups – that we are able to recalibrate and continue on with the process of learning.
And so, with opening faculty meetings beginning the week of August 30, I mention Warlick’s message here as a reminder for what I and my colleagues can strive to be.