I read a lot. I used to read books. The stroke has slowed that down a bit. I used to read very, very fast. Skim really. It's coming back. So I get through a lot, but mostly on the internet. I learn by reading, doing, making mistakes. I love getting a thousand ideas coming across my desk each day.
Professional development has changed a lot for me. I remember my first few years in Louisiana. If I needed something I would write a letter (longhand) to my old high school director. Wait for a response. I remember when I was so grateful that a veteran director came to my school to work with my band. I got so many ideas!
I really flew by the seat of my pants. I was a Teach for America placement, I hadn't had any method classes, but I did have a lot of playing experience and I definitely had great directors and teachers. I taught what they taught. And it pretty much worked. Twenty years of successful groups.
But I would never, ever, want to return to how I used to teach. I was sooo stupid.
Now I get a lot from twitter, google reader, and the NYTimes (wait, not so much anymore....). Who is in my reader every day?
Thomas J West: My first stop for music information.
Joseph Pisano: man of a thousand projects. But always, always ready to help.
Dean Shareski: Blogger I most want to work with.
Alfie Kohn: I have a crush on Alfie.
Frasier Spiers: iPad guru. Does great writing about his 1-1 experience in his school.
Susan Haugland: She answers when I have a question. I like that.
Chris Pagliaro: my internet buddy at SHS. Makes me think somebody's listening.
Now, whats odd is, except for Chris, who I see every day, I haven't met any of those people. But I think they would all say I'm in their network as well. Thats cool.
Are we setting our students up for this environment? I don't think so. What if our "test scores" were based on the size and quality of our audience? I made collaboration my goal for my teaching evaluation this year. Its a goal in our strategic plan, but nobody ever talks about it. I've increased my twitter followers, doubled my blog readership, presented at workshops, and talked, talked, talked.
Next year I measure the effect on student learning.