“The Most Valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.” by Robert John Meehan
The Best PD Ever! Those aren’t words that usually go together. I have seen my share of professional development topics and presentations over the course of my thirty years as an educator – some good, some bad, and many somewhere in between. However, this year I truly experienced the best professional development opportunity of my teaching career. When forming groups for our district tech PD, I decided to take a leap of faith and go outside my comfort zone when choosing a partner for our PD TECH group. I could have partnered with someone from my school, but I always encourage my students to think differently and try something new. How could I continue to ask them to follow my advice if I didn’t practice what I preach? So, during the initial planning phase of this newly formed group, I sought out someone new. As I listened to the High School art teacher across the room’s ideas and thoughts, it led me to think that we had a lot more in common than I thought. Maybe, a high school art teacher and a fifth grader teacher could offer each other something? Amazingly, she was feeling the same way. Now, we consider it fate that we joined forces. We learned that we shared many of the same thoughts and views about teaching and learning. We challenge and encourage each others’ thinking and push each other to try new and interesting lessons and ideas. We support and defend each other when trying something new.
This collaboration led us down many avenues. We taught a class to our fellow colleagues called – CREATE CONNECTIONS. However, the strongest connection was the one we forged together along that journey. In presenting professional development to others, we were the recipients of the most powerful and valuable resource teachers can receive and that is the gift of sharing with one another. As mentioned in the quote above, our perspectives and ideologies extended beyond our own limitations. The force and source of our collaboration energized my teaching and encouraged me to try new and innovative ideas, as well as challenge my comfort level. I wish that everyone could experience the gift of such a valuable friend. I encourage every teacher to value, connect and seek out the resources right under their noses – their colleagues. Broaden your perspectives, look outside your circle of friends, collaborate with another teacher. You will not regret the decision. I feel blessed and fortunate to have met this amazing woman and colleague that I now call friend, soulmate, and my best PD ever! Thank you, Karen!