10 ways to grow as an educator…

Participating in the Reform Symposium online conference this weekend has highlighted for me how just much I have learnt in the past year. This list is based entirely on personal experience. All of these work!

1. Establish an in-school PLN

Create a ‘personal learning network’.  Connect with other teachers/learners at your school and share ideas, bounce off each other, listen to each other, criticise each other, learn together.

2. Interact with someone who thinks differently than you do

Work closely with someone who doesn’t always think like you. Listen to their perspective. Share yours. Provoke each other. Argue. Defend your opinion. Compromise. Don’t compromise. Learn from each other.

3. Listen to TED talks

Keep up to date with TED talks. There are some incredible, inspirational thinkers and presenters on TED. Watch the ones that are not about education to broaden your learning and thinking. Consider how you might be able to apply the ideas in education.

4. Make global connections

Learn about  other people, other schools, other cultures. Connect with them online. Be a learner first. Then make global connections for your students too.

5. Join Twitter

Find someone to help you get started (I will, if you like).  Follow topics,  not just people. Participate. Ask for help and offer help. Be patient, it takes time to build an online network.

6. Create your own opportunities

Be a risk taker. Start a focus group. Participate in online conferences. Explore new ideas. Experiment with new tools. Initiate something new in your school. Do something that’s not in your job description.

7. Subscribe to blogs

Set up an RSS feed for educational blogs you find interesting. Or start by subscribing via email. Ask for recommendations.  Comment on blogs you read and get involved in conversations.

8. Write your own blog

Seriously, anyone can do it. It’s great for reflection and helps synthesize and clarify your thoughts. It’s not about the readers as much as the process.

9. Work in an IB school

Teaching through the PYP makes you think. It challenges the way you do things. You shift from facts and topics to conceptual ideas. You plan collaboratively across disciplines. You become an inquirer.

10. Be part of a learning community.

Or three. Learn from and with your students. Learn from and with your colleagues. Learn from and with other educators online.

These are only the first 10 that came to mind. As always, you’re invited to continue from #11!

Series of posts on ’10 Ways …’ #5


24 thoughts on “10 ways to grow as an educator…

  1. I really appreciate you including an inschool PLN. It has always amazed me that we are willing to spend BIG bucks on bringing outside consultants in to “train” us when we have so much talent sitting right in our faculty meetings.


    1. Agree! We’ve started tapping into our own staff expertise and learning. On our coming staff PD day, we’re devoting the morning to a ‘Give 1, Take 2’ , where teachers will present a session and attend 2 others. Lots of staff are presenting, some are sharing things they learnt at external PD workshops, some are presenting in 2’s or 3’s. Should be great!


  2. My favorite- “Do something that’s not in your job description.” I think we should all pass that one on!

    The one I need most- #2. 🙂

    Thanks for this post.


  3. Can I just say, Ed, that I love you and your blog. I wish I was a fraction of the blogger you are. Anyway, I love this post and plan to pass it on to colleagues. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Twitter, so far, has been one if the most beneficial PD activities that I have invested myself into. Hopefully my blog can gain some momentum and I can use my writing as way to connect and take a mote active role in the PLN that we are a part of.


  4. A fantastic list! Any person in a professional position of almost any sort should be building a PLN.

    For creating an internal PLN, many school districts are using Yammer, which provides the functionality of Twitter but is seen within the organization only; sort of Twitter with training wheels.

    We’ve created this SlideShare that explains Twitter and other tools for teachers, with links to the best articles we could find explaining their value:


  5. This is a great list. I think a started 7 of these this year and my teaching (and my life) is richer because of each one. I will be sharing this post at my next staff meeting.


  6. Thanks for commenting, Evan. I only started doing many of them myself in the past year or two and can’t believe how much I have learned and grown. One of the best things is being able to connect with other educators globally. I connected with Megan on Twitter because of PYP and have now connected with you as a result and today I discovered your blog too. The possibilities are endless…


  7. I spend so much time trying to grow as a professional educator, that I forgot to broaden my horizens from #3. I thirst for new educational information… I hadn’t thought about growing as an educator and taking time to learn something new and different. Thank you for reminding me!!


  8. Thanks Ed for the list! I am in Graduate School and currently at home with my little one. This list reminded me of all of the things I can be doing to educate myself while I am out of the classroom. My favorite though is #2. It’s a great way to keep the fire lit. We are always learning from each other!


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