Professional development in the summer? Are you kidding me? Nope. I have always found that the summer is a great time to recharge my teacher batteries AND gear up for the next year by learning new tips and techniques to improve my teaching.
A teacher is never done learning. We are always looking for the "better" way. We are always asking ourselves, "How can I make this next year (unit, lesson) better for my students?" Let's face it...teaching the same way all the time is booooooooring. The fact is, there are still new techniques being developed, advancements in teaching, and discoveries being made about how students learn and not to mention ever-changing technology.
Unfortunately for me, my school district's professional development plan is ...lacking. If I wait on them to teach me what I need to know...let's just say I'll still be waiting when I retire. University classes are, of course, an option. But who has the money? And just how many hours can one transcript really hold?
I could scour the internet looking for interesting articles, spend endless hours of tracking down great teaching tips, or even buy some professional books to read in my "free" time. I personally vote for taking advantage of social media resources! I can do this on the couch- with Netflix on!
Teachers are devouring the web. We are the absolute best at taking any tool and shaping it for our own needs. Just think of what we can do with a toilet paper roll! Teachers have swarmed to social media! Now we can connect with colleagues, not just across the hall, but across the globe! Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook are becoming my staples for professional resources and ideas.
Since most every adult has Facebook, I am going to give you some tips on finding resources on Facebook that will aid you in developing professionally.
I know we usually think of Facebook as a way to connect with people we actually know- our families, our classmates from high school, and our friends. But there is so much more!
Facebook groups are a fantastic way to meet and connect with fellow teachers. You join a group and Bam!... instant access to literally hundreds and thousands of teachers! So many more resources for motivation, inspiration, mentoring, and, well... help.
Go to your "Home" tab on your Facebook account. Click on "Groups". You will see at the top of the screen: suggested groups, friends' groups, local groups, new groups, and your groups. Here is where you can organize and look for new groups.
You will see if the names on the lists are groups, websites, or people. Facebook will also tell you what kind of group it is such as closed or public. In public groups, anyone can join and everyone can see what you post. In closed groups, a member has to approve your request to join and only members can see what you posted. You will also know how many members the group has.
I love to use the "Suggested Groups" and the "Friends' Groups".
Once you are a member of groups, you can add groups to your favorites and modify notifications you receive from the group. I like to turn notifications "off" so my email doesn't overflow.
You can also edit settings from your home page.
I will admit it can sometimes be hard to find groups on Facebook when you first start looking. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started:
Before you join a group,take a look at the group's description and rules.
The most important rule of social media professional development is to have fun while learning!