I met with my "sanity group" today, one of my professional learning teams, a group of school librarians from all three grade levels who share a common goal of advocacy and activism and teacher librarian leadership to promote teaching and learning in school libraries.
I call them my sanity group because we began meeting about the first of May when testing season really got going. As my school's test coordinator, I've been drowning in end of grade and end of course testing for six weeks. As an educator at a year round school, this means yet one more week of testing to go. It also means that I've done next to nothing media and technology related, let alone teaching and learning related, for my students and staff.
And goodness knows, I've done very little to keep up with my own professional growth over the last six weeks.....except for meeting with my sanity group.
As a self-proclaimed professional development junkie, I'll admit that I'm having withdrawals. Of course, that's coupled with the high levels of stress and anxiety and sleepless nights that have accompanied the title of test coordinator.
As I have begun to check in with my colleagues on Facebook and my friends at some of my favorite blogs and my fellow teacher leaders over at the TLN, I'm feeling a little jealous. These traditional school educators are posting summer plans, summer trips, summer excursions, and summer adventures. Most folks might think I'm just a little jealous that my friends are having a summer, time to do what they want to do, which most would think includes fun in the sun.
Nope, what I'm jealous of are all the great workshops and conferences and educational trips that everyone's planning! Some of my fellow school librarians attended Big6 workshops this week, learning how to implement this six step research process. Another friend and colleague jetted off to Des Moines (exciting, right?) to attend the P21 Institute. Others are headed to D.C. next week for ALA national conference. Still others are crossing the country to Seattle for the National Staff Development Council summer institute. And others in my own district will attend week long workshops on reading strategies, technology integration, and literacy.
I'm also jealous of all the books and professional journals and blogs my colleagues will have time to catch up on -- reading young adult literature late into the night and surfing Doug Johnson's and Joyce Valenza's blogs to glean ideas and strategies for planning the new school year.
I'm starting to question how I can manage it all while continuing to work in a year-round school, or maybe I'm just starting to question how any professional worth her salt manages to keep up with professional development period. With so many incredible educational leaders out there sharing their insights, how can I not afford to read their articles, check their blogs, keep up with their publications?
With the changing culture of education and the tightening purse strings and the evolution of information and processes to gather, evaluate, and create new knowledge, how can I not afford to keep up with professional development?
What have you done for your professional growth lately?