The longer you wait, the scarier it gets.
I think we have all felt this way some time in our lives. Right now we are making a huge and scary jump in our school to digital portfolios for all. Staff first and students in the fall.
As a first step toward this goal we met as a staff last week, laptops in tow and we learned together why this is important for our students and how we would do this. We had tried blogging as a staff once before, years ago. I am not sure why we stopped, but at least the idea of blogging was familiar to most of us.
I took a huge step back, took my controlling personality with me and allowed two of our teachers take the lead at the meeting. They are way better than I am at blogging and we all felt it would be received better if it was coming from teachers rather than admin. Watching them was a very proud moment for me. I now realize I do not always need to be in the lead. I may have actually been standing in the way of teacher growth by thinking that I did.
The way I see the vision of staff blogs is having them used as professional portfolios of growth. Right now our professional growth process seems very forced. We are ticking boxes and making sure all of the required artifacts are attached. This process is okay, but is it really encouraging growth? I can’t help but wonder if the process might be more authentic if it were teacher driven. If teachers were choosing goals and writing about their growth as it is occurring in their classrooms with their students. Could they not categorize their ideas to show a journey that is tied back to the growth expectations shown in our school division professional growth rubric? Would this process mean more to them if they can reflect on things they are actually doing, learning and engaging in?
Right now we are at the beginning of the process, but I feel excited about it. Before we meet next time, all teachers were challenged to write one post about their learning in the classroom. Something they have done or are doing and how it ties back to their goals. When we meet again we will learn about categories and tagging so we will be able to connect to our rubric and be able to search.
I see the process working exactly the same for me using our administrator’s rubric and it should be easy to show evidence of the things I am doing to meet my goals.
Next fall, our students will learn to do the same. They will work toward showing their learning using their portfolios and learn to categorize and tag seeing the cross-curricular nature of their learning. We hope our blogs will be used for learning that takes place during the school day, but also used for interests and passions our students have outside of the school day.
Right now we are in the beginning stages. Only time will tell how successful we will be. One thing we know for sure is, the longer we wait, the scarier it will get, so we aren’t waiting any longer.