Our deliberate practice plans were due last Friday. To complete them, teachers had to self-assess across design question one. We had to use scales to rate our teaching and professional practice for each element across several design questions. As I self assessed using the scales (pictured below) I was torn between ratings. I could imagine several scenarios where I would rate myself at one end of the scale, the other or in the middle. Eventually, I started writing down evidence for several scale points meaning if I rated myself developing or applying the administrator could expect to see this happening in class and if I rated myself innovating then this would have (has) or might happen on any given day. I was torn between marker words on the scale. I ended up rating myself as applying. I learned a little late that I hadn't played the game well.
A teacher friend made the point that a master teacher such as herself should not rate below applying. She has the same years of experience as I do, advanced degrees, an adjunct position at a local college and she's a fierce reader and learner. She has a point. Her opinions aligned with the evidence I'd scrawled in comments on my self-assessment. I brought it up with my principal who pointed out a key issue I'd taken for granted: learning.
Like my friend, I learn. I read professional books, journals, blogs. I connect to teachers online and in person. I go to conferences. I set learning goals each year and then adventure to make what I'm trying to learn part of my professional repertoire. My principal reminded me that not everyone is like that. Not all teachers read. Nor do all teachers attend conferences. I knew that. I've worked as an instructional coach, but I guess the reality of that type of teacher has not been part of my daily work life for some time. I learn. I read. I go. I do. Even if I have to pay for it myself (which is the case more years than not). It's one way I invest in my teaching life and in my students.
Many of my teacher friends are flying to Nevada today for the National Council of Teachers of English convention. I'm going! The theme for this year's conference is "dream, connect and ignite." Attending a national conference is a learning dream--part inspiration, part validation. I am going. I am going to connect with colleagues and ignite my own passions for teaching and learning. How is it that some teachers do not take the time to read and learn? I'm going to grab my share of the joy of learning with and in such a rich community.
I'm preparing for NCTE's annual convention. I travel tomorrow. In anticipation, I'm using the convention app on my iPad to plan sessions to see. I'm reading teacher friends' blogs to see what sessions they might be presenting or bookmarking. Glenda Funk's discussion session is one I'd added to my schedule, so I enjoyed reading about it on her blog this morning. Like Katherine Sokolowski writes in yesterday's Slice of Life post, getting ready to leave the classroom is sometimes difficult. It's not my favorite thing, but I, too, delight in my students and love sharing books with them. This week former students stopped by my classroom and asked about "that conference where you get all the books."
This is it and I'm going.