Saturday, February 26, 2011

Professional Development Mindset

If you had the opportunity to learn from someone, would you take it?

Would you be pleased to find someone more talented than yourself, or would you be defensive?

Would your answer change whether you had one year of teaching under your belt or twenty-five?

Would you be so willing to learn if this person was a colleague down the hall? or someone from another country?

What if you see yourself as an authority figure or master teacher, would you be willing to learn something different or new?

If professional development opportunities are simply an opportunity to reaffirm the beliefs to which you've already established than you ought to just stay home.

But if you can temper doubt, moderate ego and reserve judgement long enough to ask honest, open-minded questions, then there's a chance you might learn something.

The most creative professionals don't waste their time (and others) proving over and over how good they are because they know everyone is better off if they spend their time and effort improving.

We demand this from our students; I would hope we would demand this from ourselves.


  1. It seems that many teachers are uncomfortable with being in the learner's seat, especially if the person they're learning from is not a fellow professional teacher. While knowledge of pedagogical theory is valuable, there are people who are good teachers without the formal training, including our students! That being said, I know a few teachers who are fantastic students and are willing to get outside their comfort zones with regularity. They are also the ones the students love and not just as teachers, but as people.

  2. Joe,

    This post reminds me a great deal of Carol Dweck's Growth Mindset. When reading her book, its hard not to reflect on how I learned, how I handled being challenged and how I interacted with experienced or new teachers. Your message is a good reminder that we should look at every interaction as a possibility to grow, and not become dismissive, defensive or aloof.

    Thanks for the reminder

  3. No cliche will do. No excuse makes it acceptable. As far as my vision can see, I must continue to learn in order to be effective in the classroom! No option!

  4. This is a great post Joe! There is such value in sharing and listening to other professionals, who may do things very different or who might be on a similar path but either way they might just present an opportunity to gain some meaningful insights and experiences. It is unfortunate that some teachers and parents do not see the need and value in sharing with people all over the world.

  5. These are great questions to ask oneself. I have to admit that I sometimes lean towards towards one side rather than the other. With an ego taking up so much space, where is learning supposed to sit?


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