Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer PD and A Side of Formula

During the end of the year meeting with my teachers, I discussed how important this summer was going to be for every educator, not just in my school, county, or even North Carolina, but across the nation.  The implementation of the new Common Core curriculum standards in Math, Science, and Language Arts, combined with our Essential Standards for other subjects required time spent individually and collaboratively in preparation for the upcoming school year.

In conjunction with the responsibility to familiarize with the standards, numerous professional development opportunities were made available for teachers and administration.  Many of my colleagues aggressively signed-up for workshops and conferences, both locally and nationally.  These collaborative opportunities ensured professional learning opportunities for those fortunate to attend. Me, on the other hand, had something else VERY IMPORTANT upcoming.

On June 19th, my wife and I welcomed our beautiful daughter Payson to the world, our first.  Many people believed we "timed" it perfectly, with my wife being a high school English teacher and I an Assistant Principal.  While I wish the process had been that easy, we were extremely fortunate to have Payson without any work obligations for either one of us.  From the beginning of labor to now, I have been able to completely focus my time on my wife and my new daughter, which I am quite thankful for.

Late-night and early-morning feedings (after a while, it's been difficult determining the difference) every two to three hours allows me to become the formula king in the Smith household.  Being home 24/7 has also provided an opportunity for me to venture deep into my Twitter timeline (when Mommy and baby don't need me, of course).

As I mentioned earlier, many of my colleagues jumped on various summer conferences and professional development to attend.  Since I stressed how important this summer was for all of us, I needed to hold up my end of the bargain.  Fortunately, I had unlimited resources in my hands via my Smartphone and iPad.  Due to the terrific work of my PLN, I have able to reap the benefits of conferences and workshops without leaving my home.  Here are just a few:

Pinnacle (click link to see blog): My district, Gaston County Schools, provides a Pinnacle Teacher Leadership program which allows teacher leaders to engage in collaboration through a PLC of other Pinnacle leaders.  They begin the summer with intensive technology-based learning in a group format.  Our Instructional Technology Facilitators did a great job of updating blogs as the learning sessions continued. 

ASCD Summer Conference in St. Louis: Thanks to my man @JustinTarte, @CMcGee200, as well as other folks in my PLN, there were times when I felt like I was actually in the sessions at the conference, due to their Twitter updates.  Most of the sessions I followed involved the Common Core curriculum, so I definitely focused my learning in this area.  Justin actually posted his "Top 20 Tweets" from the conference.

ISTE2012:  If you were anywhere on Twitter in late-June, then you definitely read updates tagged with #iste2012.  Over 12,000 educators attended the International Society for Technology in Education's Summer Conference in San Diego, California.  Tweets were posted non-stop, full of professional learning, collaboration, and examples of the newest technology incorporated in the classroom.

Other connected conferences were the North Carolina Summer Leadership in Boone and the Model Schools Conference in Orlando.  This is in addition to learning that takes place daily through an ever-expanding PLN of educators world-wide.  As you can see, the range of my learning was brought to my living room from across the country, providing personalized learning and growth, without missing a moment with my family.  This is addition to the regular learning that takes place daily through an ever-expanding PLN. 

I will be able to get "back in the saddle" on July 16th, returning to my school for summer duties, nearly one month after my daughter was born.  Fortunately, due to all of the resources mentioned, my learning and professional growth has not even flirted with taking time off.  Rather, crucial time spent as a new Dad.

Thanks for reading and follow me on Twitter @CSmithGoBlue.


Craig Smith

The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith     and do not represent the school or district in which he works.

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