Recently, I asked you “When it comes to your own professional development, what is your single biggest challenge or frustration?”
The responses ranged from finding the funding for your professional development classes, resources, and trainings to finding good PD that was actually relevant to your area of interest or your specific discipline or field.
But the overwhelming number one response was time.
You want to grow professionally and feel it is important to stay abreast of the latest trends and issues in education. Plus, you’ve got your own goals and areas where you’d like to improve your craft.
The challenge is finding the time to do so.
You’re being pulled into so many directions at work that it’s hard to balance the things you want to do with the day-to-day demands that compete for your time and attention (not to mention all the personal and home obligations that are getting neglected because you’re working twelve hours a day…)
Maybe you started the year excited to try something new and then find yourself looking at your school calendar and then looking at all the upcoming state and national tests, the on-demand writing prompts, the benchmark assessments, and your own plans for the year and you think…”Where do I find the time to learn and reflect on teaching when I don’t even know where I am going to find the time to keep up with all the assessments I have to give this year?”
Or perhaps you do schedule time to work on your own professional growth and development – only to have school emergencies and last-minute demands get in the way. So you end up always feeling like you’re playing “catch up” instead of having time to digest new information or reflect on how you can use it in your own classroom.
Even if you get to a workshop and actually find something useful in the training (which is a BIG if given how “out of touch” a lot of trainers are these days), you never have time to digest what you’ve learned before you’re being asked to implement it in your classroom. You’re never given time to get comfortable with the strategy first or think about how to apply it to YOUR students and YOUR unique teaching style. Plus, there are so many initiatives, you never have time to get good at one thing before you’re being asked to do something different.
What you want most is time to engage in meaningful learning that directly pertains to the challenges you’re facing in the classroom every day.
You want time to engage in meaningful conversations with your colleagues (rather than 2 minute “turn and talk” exercises or anything that involves markers and butcher paper).
You want time to sit down with your professional resources and digest them and figure out how to incorporate them into your professional toolbox and master what you’ve learned before you move on to something else.
Did I get that right?
I really want to make sure I understand your challenges before I propose a solution. So, I want to hear from you. Let me know in the comments if I hit the mark or if I’ve missed something. And if you haven’t had a chance yet to give me your feedback and advice, I still want to hear from you.
When it comes to managing your own professional growth and development, what is your single biggest challenge or frustration?