“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none. Zero.”
— Charlie Munger, Self-made billionaire & Warren Buffett’s longtime business partner
Where do you draw the line when it comes to allocating time for your professional learning, outside that provided by your school or institution? How do you prioritise your time when considering professional learning? I would very much like to hear your thoughts on this, so please leave a comment at the end of this article.
Over the weekend, while holding my daughter and swaying gently to help her get to sleep, I was scrolling through my twitter feed and stumbled on this article (which is also where I pulled the above quote from). The article provokes some interesting thoughtlines. As teachers, we are required to complete professional learning, which is generally done through school-provided in-service professional learning sessions, some of them better run and more useful than others. Some of us might attend the occasional off-site training course funded by the school, or attend a conference, yet that is often, for many, where it stops.
This is completely understandable; we all have lives outside of school, many of us have families, sporting commitments, are involved in community groups etc. We do not want to live our lives by the school bell. There is a need, I believe, to commit some of our time to chasing professional learning according to our own desires and needs outside of that provided by the school.
The challenge, as always, is time. There are so many competing demands on our time in and out of the classroom that often appears that professional learning is one of the first things to be dropped from our schedule. I realised recently that this had occurred for me, I was so busy doing that I had stopped learning and it was the article above onthe five hour rule that made me realise it. I have signed up to a few courses over the last twelve months and most of them remain uncompleted. There are always valid excuses as to why that is, but for me, I have realised that I need to work harder to use my time wisely and remember to continue to learn.
I recently attended FlipConAus (review articles here) and was reminded how much I still have to learn abuot flipped learning, despite having been engaged with it for some time. I have a number of books that I have purchased over the last few years that are stacked up on my waiting to be read pile that I need to get to. Not being in a classroom role at the moment, I need to work harder to keep up to date with contemporary and emerging practices. I have an hour available every morning, outside of my work hours which I have been using to complete administrative work, that I will be reallocating to my own professional learning. I think I do a disservice to my students, both those I have had and those that I will have in the future; as well as to myself, if I do not keep up to date with practice. At the moment, I will be working through the Flipped Learning Certification Level II course and will write some reflections on that (and other learnings as I move forward).
From a time perspective, the article will not often be of the length that I perhaps ordinarily write (not in itself a bad thing), but I feel that that will help keep me accountable.
I will close this article with a question and a request for a favour:
I would very much like to hear your thoughts on points two and three, so please leave a comment or reach out via twitter.
Thank you for reading.