Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Always Learning

I'm incredibly lucky to work in a school district that believes in job-embedded professional development and provides us with the resources to continue to grow as teachers and learners.  As a literacy coach, I am part of that job-embedded PD, through coaching cycles, book studies, summer workshops, etc.

Today I was lucky enough to facilitate a day of learning with Ellin Oliver Keene and a small group of colleagues.

Ellin has worked with our district since my now-seventh-grader was in kindergarten.  As a Lab Teacher, I was privileged to work closely with Ellin, and she completely changed me as a teacher.  She encouraged me to be an avid reader of professional books and to think critically and reflectively about my own practice.  She coached me in my classroom and helped me learn to trust the process.

Now, when Ellin comes, I put together the agendas and facilitate the day.  I participate in the conversations, observations, and discussions, but the main focus is not MY learning.  I'm constantly thinking about how I will continue to support the teachers in this small group after Ellin leaves as well as ideas for future PD sessions and coaching cycles that may come up as part of the work we are doing.

But I am learning, too.  Every time Ellin comes, she leaves me thinking about some new aspect of my practice, both as teacher and coach. I learn about the language of professional development and how to provoke thoughtful conversation without coming across as confrontational.  I learn about new research in my field and its practical implications for the students in my building.  I learn more about myself and my core beliefs.

I learn that there is always more to learn.


  1. Mindi - That is so cool that you get to work with Ellin. And also that you get to bring in outside presenters. I think staff led PD is good but sometimes we need outside folks too and really relevant ones.

  2. Lucky school to have Ellin visit on a regular basis. We've cut back so much on these type of PD opportunities, and I miss them.