Professional Development Opinion

14 Years of Teaching and Still ‘Green’

By Starr Sackstein — August 11, 2015 2 min read
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Although being green can connote ignorance, I see it as early growth potential. When something is green it is alive and eager to take from its environment to grow.

Seasoned, although can mean experienced which is equally as good, can also mean ripened to the point of almost rotten.

It was suggested to me the other day that it was in every teacher’s best interest to stay “green” throughout his/her career, that way he/she can continue to grow.

If not, the stagnation can ultimately wreck potential, especially when we the more experienced think they know all they need to know to be successful.

Growth has been the hallmark of my career; the constant ever changing moments. In fact, the only reliable constant is the change and the progress that comes from it.

As I’m looking ahead to my 14th year, I realize how green I truly am. There are many changes this year that will surely happen which will try my patience and test my experience.

But I thrive on it.

As our students and education shift with the times, so must our practices. Although some of our content may not change, the way we look at it should. As an English teacher, I’m always reconsidering what novels we share and in way we consider them.

Social studies teachers need to consider the new context of the events that have happened. Where can cycles of history be felt in today and where will students recognize and connect with them in their own lives?

Science teachers are constantly having to readjust because new research yields new information that needs to be adding in or taken out of the curriculum so that students aren’t learning antiquated information.

Language teachers also have the challenge of evolutionary living communication and appropriate and relevant ways to bring that communication to life.

Physical education in no longer just about sports, but whole body understanding and betterment. Research has also impacted the way we learn to be healthy.

Math teachers too have the job of making some learning that seem irrelevant matter to students in a way that they invest in the learning.

Here are some ways to stay green even as we grow in education:

  • Continue to do professional reading as new information comes out - not just in your field but in pedagogical practices too. If books aren’t your thing, there are amazing blogs out there that are short reads and can offer great resources.
  • Listen to podcasts when you get a chance - if reading isn’t your thing, there are educational podcasts like the NerdyCast or Talks with Teachers or Cult of Pedagogy
  • Get into your colleagues classrooms and observe. I’ve learned so many things from people I work with - especially those folks not in my content area.
  • Network with folks outside of school and collaborate to generate relationships to benefit students
  • Get to an edcamp or another conference to see what’s happening in your particular field right now
  • Get onto Twitter or other social media applications that will bring other leaders into focus
  • Ask for help, no matter how much experience you have, you can always get better.

How do you stay fresh in education? Please share

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