The ideas and questions that Gary pondered raised some questions of my own. How many teachers actually see learning as their job? I know that I have, in the past, been a guilty culprit of putting off that job related learning. "I'm too busy teaching", or "teaching takes up most of my time". And then I realized something...teaching is not my job. Learning is. I did not become a teacher to teach, I want to learn and be part of a learning environment...it's the type of environment that I feel most comfortable and meaningful in. And because I have been learning a lot about PLCs and collaborative environments another thought ran through my mind. It is virtually impossible to be part of a collaborative environment and not learn something. If you are part of such an environment and not learning something...then you are doing it wrong.
Perhaps this is a touchy area, for it represents a shift in education - a change, and sometimes people have a hard time with change. But, if you have a hard time with change and are not willing to learn, perhaps you are in the wrong profession. Learning is our job. If we want our students to become life long learners then we have to be life long learners. If we want to see a steep learning curve within our schools, teachers need to be part of that steep learning curve - and not as teachers but as learners! Students no longer need teachers to be the center of the classroom. Why would I want a student to come to me for information when they could find it on their own? So I guess it is my job to help them develop the skills to find and process that information. But I too must find and process information; I must do, on a regular basis, what I want my students to do...and I must do it with excitement and find learning opportunities within it. I am finding that embodying this philosophy makes our jobs much more exciting. I do not know how many times in the last while (a lot)I have been in Gary's, or another teacher's room discussing a new idea or learning how to do something. And you know what? It comes through in my classes. And they are, as a result, more exciting - and a steeper learning curve takes place. Whether it be sharing your learning with your class so that more learning can take place or sharing a new "how to", learning is exciting - and rewarding. Oh, and to answer your question Gary - the last thing I learned on purpose was how to use Voice Thread (about 10 minutes ago). Now I am excited to see how we (my students and I) can use it. Thanks.