Participating in a In-house Professional Learning Community
What is an in-house PLC? An in-house Professional Learning Community is one that functions within a District such as, an individual school. The term PLC, versus in-house PLC, refers to the entire District or any broader educational system network. It is made up of members who work together in an effort to provide high quality learning environments for the students.
The PLC becomes defined by the parts that make it up, the educators and other school personnel. There is no current set formula for PLC's but the goal is for all faculty to be more connected and open in giving and receiving constructive criticism, for the good of the students. The benefits of participating in a PLC are the opportunity for growth for all involved. The outcomes can strengthen staff bonding, collegial support and the students benefit from this. The culture of the school becomes more of a unit rather than teachers and classrooms being more secluded, as in the past.
Improving Practice within your District through Professional Development
What are the Professional Development opportunities in your School District or within your educational institution's network? There are a few PD opportunities that I have participated here in Philadelphia, where I teach. Attending the Children's Literacy Initiative Professional Development workshops during my student teaching was a great experience. I participated in a total of 12 hours of PD that included Model Classroom and Independent Reading training. One of benefits of attending these workshops was learning how to set up a literacy rich classroom that will serve to foster literacy skills growth for elementary students. The benefits of participating in any Professional Development efforts within your district are invaluable.
Building Relationships of Mutual Respect with Educators and the School Community
Lately there has been a greater emphasis on collaboration between teachers rather than competition. It is easy to get caught up in feeling a sense of anxiety to perform well as a teacher because there is so much pressure for teachers to do it all and single-handedly. There is a learning curve for new teachers and for expert teachers there is always room to learn something new or to pass on experience to less experienced teachers. Not only can educators gain valuable insight from colleagues, they can also learn how to refine skills and meet various needs through creating relationships with other school staff and the families in the community. Learning how to build these important relationships that embody respect and rapport with everyone has its challenges but, it is very beneficial and worthwhile to work through them.
Professional Growth Plans
Professional Growth Plans are a great tool for almost any professional to use. These plans can help teachers consider specific goals they wish to reach and really think about the purpose of the goal. They are great for self-reflection and taking time to assess where we are. When I use the PGP tool, I find it helps me to take a look at what I know, where I need to grow and then set steps for a plan of how to reach my professional growth goal. Creating Professional Growth Plans are good reminders that we are always learning, even as masters of certain areas, we can always tweak and refine our instructional tactics and understanding of subject matter content.