Educators: Be the Agent of Your Professional Development

Dear educator,

You may think that your institution owe you something, like offering you proper professional development opportunities, but this is rarely the case. In fact, educational institutions have so much in their plates that they can barely scratch the surface of designing consistent, powerful PD development programs for their Academic and Admin staff.

Considering this scenario and the fact that you are in charge of your own learning, don’t outsource PD to anybody. Take hold of it, grab it, really, and invest your time, money and energy to get where you want to be as a full-fledged professional. You owe yourself great learning experiences. Agency is your word, your world. Do what nobody else will do for you, developing and evolving as a human being and as an educator. Only then magic  happens. I’ve seen so many educators who were sometimes tired or demotivated, but then being totally reenergized when they got into this path of what I like to call INTENTIONAL PD. One that you strategize, establish your own personal goals and go for it.

But, then, you might be asking, “Yes, this is me, but how or where do I begin?”

Here are a few tips that might help you design your Renewed Personal PD Tracker to give new life to where you are heading as an educator:

Be inspired by other educators, and start by reading maybe one of the most inspirational pieces I’ve ever read, Bud Hunt’s Open Letter to teachers.

Cultivate blossoming environments for learning by partnering up with that buddy who also has the crazy ideas, who wants to do things differently. By finding someone to be on your side, you’ll be more fearless to take bold calculated risks in your classroom and way beyond.

Get out of the educational bubble. We, educators, tend to read, live, breathe education. How about finding other areas to redirect your perspective and add some creative juices to your professional life? In my case, I find inspiration in design and business, for example, to move me to new kinds of thought that can impact directly in what I do and change my own biases.

Find your tribe. There are tons of cool exciting groups of educators who are doing amazing things together. I, for example, am part of the Google Educator Group in Brazil, and they are just an inspiration every day for us and for their local communities. There might be one near you. Being part of Teacher Associations, like BrazTESOL and IATEFL also helps you find your tribe.

Be an avid reader and/or listener. How about some books in new areas or starting to listen to podcasts when you are in line, in a traffic jam or waiting for your appointment at the doctor’s office? Here’s a list of podcasts to start with that we compiled from our own network.

Open space for new opportunities in your life. Get rid of projects, people, objects that take space in your life. Work with subtraction for further addition. Equalize what you want and don’t want anymore, what you need and what you don’t need, then, unobstruct and unclutter to expand the reach of your vision.

Unlock your potential by taking courses in different areas with people from other life spheres. Remember getting out of the bubble?

Rescue your purpose of becoming an educator. Only then you’ll be reminded why you became one and how you want to fulfill your professional mission and goals. You might realize that maybe you’re struggling because you deviated from your own educator values and principles.

Be the agent of your professional life. You are in charge and you decide where you want to go and how. By agency, I mean a liberating feeling that you are in charge and moving.

Certainly, there are bumps in the road, but persistency will pay off in the long run. Enjoy the ride together with your tribe and design your own PD. Start in 3-2-1.

Carla Arena

Carla Arena is a social entrepreneur, educator by choice. She left a promising career in the public service to become an English teacher and got the chance to take roles she could have never imagined, such as site content manager at the Binational Center she worked for, Casa Thomas Jefferson. There, she was also the Supervisor of Educational Technology, and more recently Coordinator of Innovation and Technologies. Carla is a Google Innovator and educational technology consultant. Currently she innovates in her own business, AMPLIFICA (https://amplifica.org).

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