Investing in your colleagues and in yourself

“For it is in giving that we receive.”
– Attributed to Francis of Assisi

This afternoon I spent close to an hour and a half providing some one on one PD, around some new software that is being utilised in the school. I had indicated in conversations that I was familiar with the software, and after my colleague was left feeling overwhelmed by the quick training session offered by the vendor’s local representative, I was approached and asked if I could spend some time this week helping this teacher learn their way around the software.

Thank you to Nicole Mockler

Part of the reason that I write these blog articles, record the instructional videos for my colleagues each week and am active with Twitter on a professional basis is that it is an investment in my own professional development. The opportunity to consolidate my own understandings on a variety of topics and skills, to reflect on my practice, to engage in networking, is invaluable and is an investment in my own continuing professional development. However, an additional reason is that is also an investment in my colleagues.

Thank you to Andrea Stringer

A school is a community (1), a sentiment we see often in the narratives around education. When you hear about successful schools, you often hear that the teaching staff have a high level of collegiality. Harris and Anthony (2) concluded that “providing teachers opportunities for continued development as they practice their profession is crucial for meaningful change in any educational system.” Additionally, they wrote that the ongoing development of skills and self-confidence in students is impacted by the personal and professional development of their teachers’ than anything else within a school.

Thank you to Paul Hamilton

The ongoing publishing of this blog, production of instructional videos and engagement with Twitter are an opportunity to invest on the school community, at the immediate, local level, and then also further abroad, to the wider school community of teachers everywhere. I invest of my time as I want the best for my students, and that means that not only my practice needs to be top quality, but so does the practice of my colleagues. If society is to continue to develop and improve, then the broader community of teachers need to do the same. I invest of my time, as it is an opportunity to do my part to develop teachers. While I certainly do not believe myself to be a paragon of teaching practice, I know that I can offer something to the teaching community.

Thank you to Amanda Gibson

I happily gave of my time to my colleague this afternoon. This person is in the twilight of their career, yet is still incredibly passionate for their craft, and has been outspoken in staff meetings around the need for further investment in technology in the school in a range of areas. They always have a kind word and time for a chat, and have invested their time in the development and mentoring of younger teachers, including myself and others in the school, both temporary and casual. I am not able to offer something to every teacher, I still very much feel that I am a developing teacher, and am only in the very early stages of my career. This person still desires to learn and increase their skill set in order to improve their own craft. If I can offer something that will benefit this person, I can think of no good reason to not do so.

Thank you to Mitch and Trish

Investing time in my colleagues is not just that. It is an investment in my students, in the teaching profession, and an investment in myself. Knowing that I have been able to help a colleague learn something new has a similar effect for me, mentally and emotionally, as seeing the “a-ha” moment in my students. As a new teacher, who feels like he has daily struggles in a range of areas, who is very much discovering my teaching identity, and finding my place in the school community, the value of a thank you from a more experienced teacher cannot be understated.I feel valued, I feel appreciated, I feel worth while and it reminds me why I teach.

Thank you to Linda and Nessie

With the recent news that nearly forty percent of new teachers are walking away from the profession (which is not necessarily a revelation), I felt that it was a timely reminder. If a colleague has invested of their time in you, whether they are more, less or equally experienced than you are; higher, lower or equal to you in in your local hierarchy, whether they are in your local and physical professional learning network or in your online professional learning network thank them. Let them know their time, knowledge and experience is valued and appreciated. I have not even remotely thanked everyone who has invested their time, knowledge and experience in my professional development, but I have included throughout, a small few who have, and I cannot thank them enough.

Who has invested time in your professional development?

(1) Redding, S. What is a School Community, Anyway?, The School Community Journal, 1:2, pp.7-9. Retrieved from October 14, 2015
(2) Harris, D.L. & Anthony, H.M., Collegiality and its role in teacher development: perspectives from veteran and novice teachers, Teacher Development, (2001) 5:3, pp.371-390

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