There are two schools of thought about professional development. One says we advance as we GET new ideas, different methods and opportunities to practice unfamiliar approaches. The other school says we progress as we GIVE what we find we have to share.
I suspect that blogging is the best of both schools of thought. We are certainly getting lots of new inputs to reflect upon, try out in our worlds and adopt if they work for us. We are also giving a lot by writing our own blogs, adding comments to others and giving other bloggers visibility, admiration or encouragement by quoting or linking to them.
It occurred to me this morning that teachers who appear to be avoiding professional development may be steeped in it "off radar". They may be shortchanging themselves in the GET school of advancement; but they are very likely to be "graduating with honors" from the GIVE school of professional development.
There are several ways we are transformed by giving. All of these advance us professionally as well as personally.
- We find we have more and more to give of ourselves, our insights, and our unique perspectives -- by repeatedly going within to find something to give
- We tune into others to choose what to give and become more understanding, insightful and empathetic toward our beneficiaries
- We realize that giving what comes naturally to us is energizing and fulfilling, unlike the dishing out what took a struggle to come up with that drains us in the process
- We discover that what we give comes back around or "what we sow we reap".
- It occurs to us that whatever we get from others seems valuable, useful or beneficial to us because of what we gave of ourselves and changed our minds to share with others
- We develop a very useful pattern of not knowing what to give, being innocent of our past experiences, and then receiving what to give through our login to our unconscious minds.
So it's possible that classroom teachers are being transformed in these ways by giving to their students every day. In their worlds, professional development through blogging would redundant and less generous with their students.