#54U: How to Take Control of Your Professional Learning

This Week #54U offers Five Ways you can take control of your Professional Learning so that it engages you, meets your needs, and helps make you a better educator for the learners you work with.

1. Start by Building Your Own Professional Learning Community

  • It’s great when we can find our “people” in the buildings we work in, but that’s not often what happens. But the good news is that social media has made finding our teacher tribe so much easier.
  • Use Twitter to Build your PLN. Here is a great video made by Common Sense Media to help you get started.

2. Remember That You Must Embrace Discomfort

We often forget how uncomfortable it can be to take on new challenges and learning new challenges. Diving in will help remind us what our students experience every day.
  • Remember what it feels like to be incompetent and out of your depth. Your students feel like that all the time! This discomfort can come in the form of simply trying something new to us. This year I am going to try learning more about STEM education and Maker Spaces, and I have started this new blog, and I feel *very uncomfortable*.
  • Learn about subjects that are in themselves discomforting. The Black Lives Matter movement has made many teachers painfully aware that we are not appropriately educated about matters that are of central importance to the young people in our classrooms, and the world around us. We Are Teachers has a solid list of Professional Development Books about current issues in education we should all learn about. And, if you need to take a break while others do the learning they need to do, then do that too.

3. Try Reflective Journaling

Taking the time to reflect on your own practice is one of the most powerful professional development tools we have at our disposal. Barbara Bassot’s little book “The reflective journal” was transformational for me and my practice. I will be talking about her work a lot in future posts, so keep an eye out.

4. Continue to Grow By Joining or Starting Your Own Book Club

In person, or online book clubs remain important ways to maintain your connections with like minded people, broaden your perspective and think about new things in a safe environment.
  • Check out these suggestions for starting a PLC book club from Learning Sciences.
  • Use your Twitter PLC to help find books about whatever topic you are interested in. Use the search bar to find #’s and @ people you can ask. A few weeks ago this strategy worked out brilliantly for me, because in addition to finding great books to read, I found new people to follow on Twitter, and new Blogs to read!
  • But now it’s important that you not just quietly listen/follow or read along. You need to engage with your peers and broaden your thinking.

5. Take Ultimate Control of Your Own Learning by Sharing Your Own Ideas With Others

  • We all know the best way to learn something is to teach it, and this is especially true for our professional practice.
  • Share your ideas with other teachers. Start with teachers in your own building, part of your learning community, and then grow from there.
  • Start your own blog! Become active in Twitter and other social media platforms.

As educators we can and should be lifelong learners, and demonstrate the skills and perseverance it takes to find the learning we need, when we need it. I’d love to hear about your Professional Development experiences, and what you have done to take back control of your learning. Please share in the comments below.



Schwartz, S. (2020, November 23). What do teachers really want from professional development? respect. Education Week. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.edweek.org/leadership/what-do-teachers-really-want-from-professional-development-respect/2019/05.