Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others, and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to boost student learning.

2.1.a Set professional goals

Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness

2.1.b Participate in PLNs

Pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks. 

2.1.c Keep current on research

Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences. 

Becoming an educator has set me on a journey of continuous learning. In education, change is inevitable. When the global pandemic took over the world in 2020, I found myself questioning my abilities, striving to do more, and working harder than ever to adjust my approach, improve my methods and refine what I know as best practices. I became increasingly aware of the importance of having a growth mindset in everything I do. 

Becoming an educator has set me on a journey of continuous learning. In education, change is inevitable. When the global pandemic took over the world in 2020, I found myself questioning my abilities, striving to do more, and working harder than ever to adjust my approach, improve my methods and refine what I know as best practices. I became increasingly aware of the importance of having a growth mindset in everything I do. 

The pandemic had a profound impact on me, igniting a newfound interest in digital education. I wanted to explore what is possible with technology (2.1.a). This is what inspired me to enroll in the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, which I started in August of 2021.

A commitment to lifelong learning is instilled by a growth mindset – a steadfast determination that views obstacles as opportunities to overcome, not as final barriers. In my blog post about growth versus fixed mindset, I wrote about the role of teachers in fostering a classroom culture where students can take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes (https://learners4life.org/iste/growth-versus-fixed-mindsets-matter/). Our role in growth-mindset classrooms is to collaborate with students to grow their knowledge and expand their thinking. Taking risks in learning becomes standard practice because mistakes are seen as instruments of growth.

As a lifelong learner, it is very important to set up goals for myself so I can stay on the growth path (2.1.a). As part of teacher development and appraisal at our school, teachers take time to assess their own skills and expertise, while crafting professional goals that we can focus on for the current year. We also tap into current research and educational trends with curriculum, technology, mental health, and other core areas (2.1.c). Placing student work at the forefront, we challenge ourselves by asking the tough question: What aspects should we retain, adapt, remove or alter to address the requirements of our students?

One of my goals is looking at my mathematics instruction, specifically at how I use differentiation to meet the various needs of all students in my class. Zearn is a web-based tool (https://www.zearn.org/) that helps students practice the concepts they are learning during math time. I can use Zearn to assign tasks based on student needs, so those that need additional practice, as well as those needing more challenging tasks can both go on Zearn and find activities and lessons that suit them . Zearn is aligned with the Common Core Standards in mathematics, which we use to inform our instruction, plan our lessons and assess students’ understanding.

As someone committed to continuous learning, collaborating with others is essential for my growth. Educators must actively engage in learning networks to foster both their professional and personal development (2.1.b). Our professional learning community consists of 6 teachers, 5 classroom assistants, our principal and our curriculum director. Our grade level team meets weekly to plan upcoming lessons, evaluate past units, analyze standards and essential concepts and create unit assessments. We also take time to reflect on current and past units of study, all with the aim of progress. Additionally, once a month, we have a combined meeting with the 4th grade teachers from the other elementary school. We are all committed to learning alongside each other because this is what’s best for students.

The process of learning is dynamic and not static, relevant and not outdated, meaningful and not pointless. For those committed to lifelong learning, cultivating an open mind, adaptability and resilience serves as a pathway to continuous growth.

2 Leader