When @sarahdateechur asks for a guest blog for one of the fastest growing “teacher-connected” creations ever, there’s no pressure…at all. That being said, here goes nothing:
Speaking of connected, that has been the single greatest attribute to my students’ education is me connecting to other educators around the world through social media (mostly Twitter). Thank you, to all the teachers in the world for connecting to each other, not just those who have influenced me. To think this is all really just getting started is pretty exciting. My students thank you too, they just don’t know how to. Without my connection to the outside world, I would not have been introduced to flipped learning and would not have tried mastery learning in my blended classes which has been the single, awesomest thing ever. Here is my post on the beauty of Blended Mastery Learning. If you know teachers who are not connected, it is your innate role as a connected human to introduce them to the real power of the internet this summer.
Speaking of summer, I recently attended a first for my school that organized its own PD for its own professionals this summer (great job, @HoltonErica). It went really well. We had @ShawnMcCusker as our keynote and head professional with breakout sessions, etc. Something that struck me (as it has struck me before) was the declaration at the end to teachers trying new things they learned, to try it in small chunks. I get it, but I don’t. When is the last time our students got anything in small chunks? They usually get huge chunks everyday and are asked to do it all that night and turn it in tomorrow. Not that it’s the right way to do it, but I believe teachers (like myself) who jump in the deep end head first are more likely to continue that path they started. In 2011, I started one of three blended classes at my school and began flipping my regular biology classes at the same time. In 2015, I began teaching my anatomy & physiology classes in a blended flipped mastery environment. In both cases (which were a lot of dang work), I dove in head first and wouldn’t think twice about doing it any other way. Once again, being connected to other educators allowed me to get it right the first time, although revisions and improvements are always in order.
Speaking of personalizing your PD, if you’re an educator that actively avoids PD, it means one of two things: you have had bad experiences in the past (listening to a two hour lecture on RTI is NOT considered PD) or you are not as passionate about your job as you need to be. I’ll assume the former is the problem. If you want some good ideas of getting your own PD when and how you want it, I would like to refer you to @jbretzmann (and company’s) Personalized PD book. Growth as an educator usually leads to growth of your students.
Speaking of books, if you have not read @DonWettrick‘s Pure Genius book, you’re missing out on the innovations that can take place inside the classroom. The only things that’s missing is you…and some reading. Challenge your students or yourself to a little innovation.
Last, speaking of challenges, I would love to challenge all educators to make your class environment as friendly and fun as possible. Obviously, there are boundaries in every good classroom, but graying those areas of what is “supposed to” be done in your classroom are what I challenge you to do. Make school more fun. Make your classroom the one that kids are waiting to come to every day.
Start off the school year with the most fun ice breaker you can find (research Battle Decks) and save the syllabus/house keeping stuff for week 2. There’s plenty of time to learn your classroom rules and regulations.
Alright, go be awesome. Connect with others. Connect with me. Challenge yourself. Change the world. Thank you for reading.