As former Oregon teacher of the year Steve Wyborney reminds us in his recent blog post, teachers are in charge of their own professional learning and growth. We must seize opportunities to collaborate with colleagues and mentors and continually seek answers to the burning questions we have about teaching and learning.
Participating in professional learning communities, performing action research, taking classes, reading professional books and articles, interacting with teachers on social media—these are all wonderful ways for educators to gather new ideas, refine teaching practices, and receive support and feedback. In addition to these valuable activities, don’t neglect attending local education conferences.
At statewide or regional events, you’ll have the opportunity to hear nationally recognized speakers share the latest thinking on current educational topics. You’ll also get to choose from a wide array of breakout sessions, some of which are nearly guaranteed to address the questions you are currently wrestling with. As you tailor your conference experience to your interests, you’ll meet like-minded teachers from around your state, exchanging ideas and insights and building your professional network.
While you’re there, be sure to
●Check out the book signings. Picture book authors and illustrators often attend conferences to promote their work, as do professional book authors—you might get a chance to take a picture with your favorite writer or ask them a question!
●Scope out the exhibit hall. Many exhibitors offer freebies to teachers, and there are usually great discounts on books and other materials.
●Attend social events. Often organizations will host receptions, poetry readings, pizza nights—any number of events to foster community among participants.
When you return home to your school, you’ll have a wealth of information, materials, and ideas to share along with new connections to tap when the next burning question is keeping you up at night.
Giveaway! We are offering a Michigan State teacher one free registration to attend Michigan Reading on March 27-30, 2015, in Grand Rapids, MI. (You must be a Michigan State teacher to qualify). This is a registration only—no travel or housing expenses are included. For a chance to win the registration, please leave a comment below about what you are most interested in learning about at the conference. Winner will be selected on 3/13/15. (Must be a U.S. resident, 18 or over; complete legal rules available here.)
Giveaway! We are offering two Maryland State teachers one free registration to attend State of Maryland IRA Council Conference on April 15-17, 2015, in Baltimore, MD. (You must be a Maryland State teacher to qualify). This is a registration only—no travel or housing expenses are included. For a chance to win the registration, please leave a comment below about what you are most interested in learning about at the conference. Winner will be selected on 3/13/15. (Must be a U.S. resident, 18 or over; complete legal rules available here.)
In your comment, be sure to include what specific conference you hope to attend (Michigan or Maryland!)