Effective professional development must help to sustain motivation
Professional development is such a crucial part of our teaching experience and if we are to continually improve ourselves as educators, we need constant access to it. I am not saying anything here that you don't already know. As teachers, we all know the value of PD. Many argue that effective PD is solely about having a measurable impact on student learning. Although I agree wholeheartedly with this point, I would also argue that effective PD is about changing the teacher just as much as affecting student learning.
How are we to create long term positive change in student learning if we do not maintain a high level of motivation? As educators, often times we walk away from PD sessions feeling this spark of inspiration and fully intend on implementing all of the great strategies we've learned. However, the reality is that this feeling of motivation and inspiration can fade away quite quickly if we are not careful. My wish would be that the organizers of professional development teach more strategies that help maintain teacher motivation over time, but there are definite things that we can do to help us stay motivated on a more consistent basis. Maintaining this motivation does not rest solely on the shoulders of our schools, we play a pivotal role as well in staying motivated.
I think that the biggest change maker in staying motivated is taking initiative to set goals and to actively pursue these goals by connecting with other like-minded educators. Share what you read, compare notes, talk about strategies that work, seek out strategies to improve by asking other teachers what works. Get your minds racing with ideas and then slow the process down to focus on some big ideas that you want to try out. Keep a journal to record your thoughts and ideas. Draw pictures of your ideas and map out what they look like. Bring as much creativity and innovation into your practice. Share Share Share!! Find your inspiration in the work of those you admire. All of the above help me to maintain my motivation on a more consistent basis and have made me better at what I do. Still a long way to go, but I feel as though I am on the right path. Thanks for reading.