I love quotes and came across the statement to the right as I was researching ideas for this post. Adults learn through experience, practice, conversation, and reflection, but not many professions provide the time for reflection….However, education does! Education is an interesting profession for so many reasons. Throughout the year, we are given the gift of time to unwind, catch up on our to-do list, spend time with family and friends but also to reflect! We have the ability to reinvent our practices so many times throughout a year. We have winter break, spring break, & summer break where these extended periods of time can be used to catch up on your professional learning, plan for the weeks/months ahead but also to reflect on the type of teacher, colleague, & leader that you want to be.
As I currently work in a 12month position, it is hard to find the time to “reinvent” myself as a professional given that I don’t have the “breaks” to reflect on my current practices and any professional learning I do must fit within my work calendar or be done on the weekends. However, I spend A LOT of time reading professional books which naturally presents itself to self reflection and for that I am grateful.
Recently, I was given the exciting yet overwhelming opportunity to expand my department. Since the summer of 2018, the professional learning department was a 2 man show – myself, and my administrative assistant Kathy. This past March, right before COVID-19 became a “thing” Kathy’s expertise was needed in another department at the ROE leaving me all alone. But not for long! I was able to not only hire someone to fill Kathy’s very big shoes (figuratively not literally), but also to hire a Professional Learning Coordinator to help create and deliver professional learning both in-person & online and to assist with my to-dos, which if I’m being honest I hope helps with my lack of sleep – this job is WAY too big for one person!
This was my opportunity to “reinvent” myself professionally. My goal in hiring two staff members was to be the “dream team”. A well-oiled, collaborative, professional team that takes risks, celebrates our successes and failures, and feels supported personally and professionally. I immediately started re-reading two professional learning books that my Superintendent, Pat DalSanto, and Assistant Superintendent, Dee Oliver, had purchased for our team: “The Happiness Advantage” and “The Big Potential” by Shawn Archor. Both of these books left HUGE impacts in my life both professionally and personally. As I read through these texts again, I started to reflect upon my current practice, replay experiences as a leader and a “follower” as well as think about conversations I have had with others.
The question I kept coming back to was, “What type of leader would I want to work for?” I took this one step further and actually wrote out characteristics/traits that I value and expect in a “boss” so that I could visualize what it would look like and feel like to be running my department according to these values. I have this question now “pinned” on a virtual sticky note on my computer desktop so that I am reminded every day to model these behaviors. Do my actions, words, and professionalism model the type of leader/boss I would want to work for? This is a high goal/expectation of myself, one that I am 100% sure I will fail to do all the time but will strive for and learn from my failures.
I challenge you to reflect and ask yourself, “How am I reinventing myself professionally this summer? What type of teacher, colleague, leader, principal, nurse, social worker, etc. will I be? What am I doing now to prepare for the fall, to be the best professional I can be?” I am here (and so is my amazing team) to assist you in your journey – please take time this summer to reflect and fill your bucket with professional learning that inspires and challenges you both personally and professionally!
I’d like to take this opportunity to formally welcome Myra Torres and Jenna Moller to the Kane PL team!
Myra is serving as my Administrative Assistant and Jenna is joining us as the Professional Learning Coordinator.
I am so excited to have them both on board and we are here to serve you in any way we can!
Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning