Exploring Personal/Professional learning, one day at a time.

kellywchris

Professional development is a daily pursuit of improvement. It requires small steps, critical reflection and feedback, and venturing just beyond where one was yesterday! Sometimes, when we're ready, we can leap into new adventures but it's the small daily steps that lead us...

Every Day is a PD Day

Connections bring us together with other people, introducing us to new ideas and different ways of doing things. Although this is crucial for learning and growth, there is also the possibility that it will create too great a dissonance, causing us to draw back and resist. We often believe that everyone thinks like us or at least in a similar way. However, as we connect with a greater number of people, we are brought in to contact with a wide variety of ideas and worldviews. If we don’t step out beyond just connecting, the possibilities for learning and growth are greatly diminished. However, if we share our experiences and what we see in the world around us and are open to others sharing their experiences and what they see, we open up the possibility for growth and learning.

Each person is a unique individual who has something to add to our experience. Ask questions, listen intently, engage in conversation. In a world that is filled with the possibility for personalization, building connections and sharing with others requires us to shift from "Do unto others" to "Get to know and treat them as unique persons". We need to respect their dignity by accepting that there may be differences in how we might see things which requires a more personalized approach to connecting. As our connections grow and develop, people who treat those around them as unique, worthy of knowing, provide the opportunity for a personal connection built on sharing and learning. Applying one-size fits all formats to connections leaves us missing the opportunity to learn and grow.

How willing are you to personalize your approach to the connections you make? How much time do you take to ‘listen’ to what people are sharing with you in order to get to know them? When you meet with parents or other community members, how often do you provide them with the opportunity to tell you about themselves? When you are connecting with others, how focused are you on their experience?

Connections - explore personal uniqueness.

Every day is a PD day.

Every Day is a PD Day


Connections allow us to reach out beyond our immediate surroundings, connecting with people on a global level. We have access to an over abundance of information which can overwhelm us if we don’t have habits and routines to help us. Part of this is using the connections you have to help filter and curate information, creating a system that helps you manage your energy and time. How do your connections help you to manage the flow of information you see each day? What routines or systems do you use to help manage your energy and time related to accessing information? How do you avoid getting overwhelmed by the information available?

Connecting allow us to touch the world.

Every day is a PD day!

Every Day is a PD Day



Connection - what we do today sets off a string of events that makes a profound difference in the lives of many. You won’t see anything right away. You may not even know it happens but our connections today have a rippling affect that spreads out and touches tomorrow. How do you want your connections today to touch tomorrow? How do you hope your connections with touch those around you? Do you take time to think about how your connections affect others? Do you have connections you know need your attention? What do you do about these connections?

Connection - Touching Tomorrow

Every Day is a PD Day

Every Day is a PD Day


Connections - they shape our days, affect our moods, provide us with information and bring us all sorts of information. We have a greater affect on those with whom we connect than we often understand or even think about. A simple smile has been shown to improve the mood of a person. Connections provide an opportunity for us to grow while having an affect on the world around us through how we approach the interactions that we have with others. How often do you think about these connections? About how you want others who meet you and interact with you to feel? How do you want others to feel when they connect with you? Are you clear about how you want interact with others?

Connections - Opportunity to Grow

Every Day is a PD Day!

Every Day is a PD Day


Feedback is important for growth and development. We need to know how we are progressing and where we are successful and where we need to put in more energy. Feedback helps us to direct the energy we have, using it to progress toward our destination.

Seek out a trusted other who will be honest with you and help you use the feedback you get to seek improvement. It takes a grain of sand to create a pearl. Seek to find the grain of sand you can turn into your own pearl.

Connections are important for our growth and development. The more we are willing to seek out feedback and critically reflect on it, the more we can seek to improve, helping us toward our destination.

Connection - feedback for growth.


Every Day is a PD Day


Consistency in developing habits for success creates space for creativity and innovation to thrive. Structures can help you to develop a flow to the work you do, giving you clarity of vision.
Todd Henry, in his book Accidental Creative, discusses how creativity is a natural rhythm

"but the creative process is naturally rhythmic. There are peaks and troughs of productivity, an ebb and flow to idea generation.
Working harder and staring more intently at the problem to achieve better ideas is like trying to control the weather by staring at the clouds.
Rather, you need to incorporate practices that instill a sense of structure, rhythm, and purpose into your life. You need to create space for your creative process to thrive rather than expect it to operate in the cracks of your frenetic schedule."

Teachers are some of the most creative people I know. They are also some of the greatest risk-takers when it comes to trying new things in their work. However, they are often perceived as being anti-change, seeking stability over risk-taking and innovation. This perception I believe, is because many people outside of teaching do not fully understand the complexity of the work of teachers. Because of this complexity, teachers are strategic in the changes they make and the risks they take knowing that when they do, the effects are felt by each of the students in their care. It’s this tension between taking-risks and innovating and stability that many people outside of education do not understand.

This is why I believe it’s important for teachers to develop daily habits, structures that support space for creativity. I also believe that these habits can be incorporated throughout the school day to allow for space for students’ creative adventures.

Todd Henry discusses how it’s important to be deliberate in how you use your time and energy. He describes this as:

"Prolific + Brilliant + Healthy = producing great work consistently and in a sustainable way"

When any of the three are out of balance, dissonance results, affecting your life and work. For teachers, some who are required to work another job just to make ends meet, this can seem like an impossible task. However developing a rhythm to the day and finding time to develop habits that help you thrive is possible.
As a father of 8 children, I know I didn’t think it was possible. How could I find time for this? Parenting, teaching, coaching - all these took up so much of my time. But because I didn’t take time to step back, reflect, clearly identify my destination, manage my time and energy, I eventually burned out.

While the overstressed, "gasping for air" worker is the celebrated hero of office folklore, for the creative, being one of these is simply not a realistic and sustainable way to do great work. Todd Henry

This is so true. But in stepping back and deciding on your destination, know that there will be hard decisions to make about how you use your energy and where you spend your time. You cannot compare your journey to that of others nor measure your successes based on others’ opinions. In an always on, hyper-connected social world, that isn’t easy. However, to move forward toward your destination, daily habits of reflection and determining actions can help you to remained focused on your path.

As I runner, I know that I have to focus on the path ahead of me. This is especially true when I am doing any sort of cross-country trek - my primary focus is on the path ahead. I take time to occasionally look around to see what is happening and where I am but these are short glances. I quickly return to the path ahead since one misstep could be pretty painful! I also know that I tend to go where I am looking so if I spend too much time looking left or right, I tend to begin to go in that direction.
It’s the same in other areas of our lives. Spending too much time looking at what others are doing, takes us away from our path. Comparing our path to theirs doesn’t help us move forward and, in many cases, can often limit us, keeping us from making progress because we are too busy wondering why they seem to be ahead of us.
When I run, I compete against myself, trying to improve my times or distance or both. I can’t worry about the person who just passed me and continues to pull away - it messes with my rhythm and often affects my running. Instead, I’ve learned to focus keeping my rhythm going, speeding up or slowing down as needed but always aware that I need to get back to my home when I’m done!

Consistently developing daily habits is key to making progress in all areas of our lives. Spending too much time focused on one area creates dissonance that will affect the others areas, sometimes in profound ways that take us far from our original destination. It also provides space for creativity and innovation. Structure does not have to be limiting. Disciplined actions can allow us to do deep work that often leads to creative breakthroughs and innovative ideas.

Consistency - Clarity - Vision.

Be creative - Be Innovative

Every day is a PD day

Every Day is a PD Day


Sometimes it’s difficult to stick with a plan. Each day unexpected things happen that require our attention. By consistently taking time each morning to prepare for the day and determine our destination, we can continue to see where we are going despite the unexpected. It allows us to be flexible in meeting daily challenges knowing that no matter what happens, we have our destination in sight. And when the unexpected requires our full attention, we have a point of reference that allows us to determine what is essential for us to continue to THRIVE.

Consistency prepare to THRIVE!

Every day is a PD day.

Every day is a PD day


Being consistent in our daily habits allows us to see patterns, to see how we use our time and how our energy flows throughout the day. In order to thrive in our daily lives, it’s important to be aware of how we are using our time as we move toward our destination. Consistency allows us to be innovative and creative through giving us space in the day for exploring different ideas knowing because we know we have time and energy just for this.
Do you allow yourself time each day for creativity? Do you spend time exploring innovative ways to teach and support student learning? Are you exploring new ideas each day by allowing yourself time? Do your habits allow you to THRIVE each day?

Consistency sets the conditions to THRIVE!

Every day is a PD day!

Every Day is a PD Day


#myPDtoday Consistency in your growth and development helps meet the challenges created by change. When we are consistent in our habits, it frees us up from worrying about what is next and gives us a destination to work towards. That is why having a vision, a destination is an important part of consistency - it gives a foundation to what we are doing.
What is your vision, your destination, that grounds what you are doing? Do you plan to consistently grow and develop? Are you consistent in your daily habits?

Consistency - meeting the challenges of Change. Every day is a PD day!

Every day is a PD day!

Every Day is a PD Day

#myPDtoday

Consistency is important for helping build solid daily habits. Whether it’s a morning routine to start the day, an evening routine that helps to reflect on the day and prepare for the next, or a the habits during the day that help you with organization and planning, being consistent helps you to develop a routine to use your time and energy productively. It also allows you to see how you are using your time and make adjustments when needed.
How consistent are you with your planning and reflection? Do you consistently take time for your health and mental well being? How consistent are you with your morning and evening routines?
Consistency - plan for Success

Every day is a PD day.