While I was driving home, my mind began to go over my day in my classroom, just like it always does. Every day. On the long drive home down Hwy 79. Today I was thinking about what I was doing…or rather not doing. My students have very successful ideas and many interpret the themes thrown at them in out of the box ways. They make me very proud in that area.
The area of concern for me is the realization out of those ideas. What questions am I not asking? What activities can I be doing to help my students in this area? What are other TAB teachers doing to help provide their students the resources or help to flush out their ideas? And how can I implement that in my classes? How can I push my kids to develop the skills to bring their fabulous ideas to the next artistic level?
Let me be honest here…I am a little jealous of those TAB/Choice teachers that are able to help develop and “pull” both the great ideas and skills from their students. This is a goal of mine.
So, where is this post going? Well, I was thinking I need some kind of PD on how to achieve this in my classroom. How do other teachers run their classes? What types of activities do they do? But, I need more than just Twitter chats and Facebook groups. Don’t get me wrong, those are fabulous resources, but I need more. I need more than the 10-15 minute presentation from AOE conferences. I want more than the 30 minute presentation from my state conferences. I want more than the ones I can get at national conferences.
The best PD I have ever went to was the 2015 TAB Summer Institute. Why? Because I not only got to be face to face with like minded people looking to learn what I wanted to learn, but because I got to have in depth conversations about topics that were important to me. I need to discuss and ask questions in the moment to help with deep understanding. I also need to see a person. They body language and facial expressions helps me to learn.
My question is, how can I get the professional development I want from the teachers who know what it is I want to know? How do I make that happen? How can we, my PLN, make that happen? I know we all can’t afford to fly to one place to do this…otherwise we would all be going to Boston this summer. And, I know I am not alone in feeling this way. I can’t be. But, there has to be a way. Someone please help me figure this out!!
Building a relationship with an experienced teacher in your area can go a long way. When I first began transitioning to TAB-Choice in my K-6 art program I found a like-minded art teacher who lived nearby. We began meeting up, talking, and I visited and observed her classroom. She was middle school but I still got so much out of our relationship. There is nothing like seeing how someone else is handling similar challenges.
Robin, I appreciate your comment. I am not in the middle of a transition though. And, unfortunately, there aren’t many high school teachers in my area. Most of my TAB PLN is not close. High school is a completely different beast than elementary. The people that I know are doing what I am missing are in other states, so I am trying to figure out the best way to get what we need. Google Hangouts is something discussed and something I am going to try to implement. 🙂