The new year marks the time for another important milestone in professional development. The 2015 submission deadline for the Unity and Diversity just passed. U&D is a national group of teachers that has decided we should write about education topics once a year. As the final revisions and editor’s notes come and go I’m finding it is time to reflect upon why I spend time writing essays during my very precious vacation days.
So much of a teacher’s time gets allocated to the myriad of demands of our profession. Lesson plans, grading, paperwork, and mandated professional development activities tend to suck up the few extra moments a teacher has to be creative. Professional development means more than signing a number of attendance sheets and sitting through a lecture until the clock strikes “go home”. Not every PD day is a valuable use of our time, but professional development does matter.
Education is a tremendously challenging career that requires continuous improvement to approach maximum effectiveness. All the trees of our numerous demands day after day can easily lead us to never stop to think about the forest of education we attempt to navigate as a professional community. All of our work to keep moving forward each day doesn’t often leave time to think about the direction in which we are headed.
So Unity and Diversity is an important opportunity to spend time with colleagues around the country thinking about the biggest ideas in our field. Ask questions without a mandated outcome. Start a debate we may not be able to finish by 3:00 pm. It is a gratifying reminder of why we do what we do as educators. So check out our work from 2014 and follow the project in the coming months to see the newest work when it releases in early next year.