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Dedicated to Teachers

Podcast: Why and How to Choose Professional Learning

Why and How to Choose Professional Learning A Conversation Between Heinemann PD Professionals (1)

Do you know what to look for when searching for professional development? What challenges do you seek to address? Do you want something self-paced? Online? In-person? Short term? Long term? 

Choosing the best professional development for you can feel overwhelming. Here at Heinemann we not only have ample options for you, but dedicated professionals who can help you find what you need. 

Lish Mitchell and Jaclyn Karabinas walk us through some exciting upcoming Heinemann PD and how you can learn more. 



Below is a transcript of this episode. 

Lish: We're falling forward into a new school year and what better way to get on board for back to school than sharing space with Jaclyn Karabinas. My name's Lish and I'm the PD marketing director here at Heinemann, and I'm so excited to speak about our learning journey across Heinemann professional learning in my own journey, because I'm celebrating one year of being in this role. So I'm really excited to start the school year off fresh. So Jaclyn, how was your summer?

Jaclyn: Like Lish said, my name is Jacquelyn Karabinas and I work here in Heinemann Professional Learning as a lead instructional designer. And I get to collaborate for social media and the blog and all sorts of wonderful things across the company, so really glad to be here today. It's been an interesting summer. There's been a lot of time and space for reflection and I'm really glad to share space with you too. And congratulations on one year. I think I knew it was coming, but it just doesn't seem possible. So thanks for joining me today and I'm really glad to talk with you about the kinds of learning that we might do this fall.

Lish: Excellent. So what does it mean to really reflect on a journey of a person, of a teacher? What are your thoughts on that?

Jaclyn: Wow. I mean, it can be a lot, but I think it's really the only way to go. So I think a lot about how we have a moment in time and it's really hard to see that moment in time in the perspective of the full journey. And so really taking that time to stop and reflect on where you are, where you've been, where you've come from really is the way to understand where you can go. And it can be really frustrating sometimes, it can be really inspiring other times. I just cleaned out my office the other day and found all sorts of binders and folders from various PD I attended forever ago. And some of it made me laugh, some of it I don't remember attending at all. Some of it I remember being really central to my growth as a teacher. And so I find that reflecting on the journey really helps me understand how far I've come and that really helps me see the progress because sometimes every day can just feel like the same and it's really hard for us to see our progress.

I was thinking of, the other day I was on Instagram and I saw Patrick Harris, the author of The First Five, and he has shared his teaching journey for years on social media and we've never met in person, but I feel like I know his entire journey because the way he reflects publicly and shares his journey. And then in his book, I just feel like I know him and I saw him walking into school. He's got, he's heading back to the same school, he has a dual role this year and I thought, wow, I felt really proud of him, but because I've followed his journey and so reflecting on your journey publicly isn't for everyone. It's certainly not safe for everyone or comfortable for everyone, but I really enjoy that idea of somehow collecting and tracking your journey so that you can see your progress and how far you've come.

Lish: That's really beautiful. So when you think about the role of a teacher and all the noise that's surrounding with shortages and just limitations in being able to be successful is how they want to approach their professional learning, what are some of those takeaways or guidance that you could provide for that?

Jaclyn: Well, I think that in so many ways it's professional learning that helps you really find the confidence to try and do new things to stretch and grow as a teacher. I think community is pretty crucial too, whether you have one go-to teacher friend, whether they're in your building or not, or you have an online community of like-minded educators that you learn from, that's pretty critical too. But I find that in order to stretch and grow, finding the professional learning that really challenges you and sticks with you not just for one day, but throughout the year. It helps you find the confidence to do the things you've been dreaming.

Maybe you wanted to do a digital composition project or do PSAs with your kids, or you really want to make conferring a central part of your classroom practice and you just need to focus on that for the year. You want to figure out how to gather lots of information and data on students and really build that mosaic of data to truly understand who they are and what they need in their own progress. So many of these, there's just so much going on that to really focus on it, having the right professional learning that you pick for the year and you use that as your anchor really is the way to go.

Lish: And so for school leaders, what are some tools that they can proactively engage with to create their own pathways to success amongst all the noise as well?

Jaclyn: Well, I think it's really crucial to listen to teachers. And we say that a lot and we hear it a lot, but I think it can't be said enough because teachers are always going to have their experience from what is happening in their room with the students in front of them every day. And so a lot of the things that teachers say that they need and the goals that they have are going to be based on that. And not that teachers don't have long term vision or an understanding of, or a connection to the long term goals of the school. They absolutely do. But they're teaching, it's very personal and it's the interaction in the classroom and what you learn about your students can really drive the things that you want to learn how to do better. And so not only listening to teachers, but allowing them to choose professional learning that serves the goals they have for the kinds of things they want to do in their classroom, even if it doesn't completely match or directly link to an all district vision or district plan or something like that.

But again, it is really critical to have a long term vision and plan for your school. And so knowing the professional learning options available to you that is job embedded, that will sustain not just a month, but will sustain the year of school or even beyond. That's the really kind of powerful professional learning that changes practice that makes the difference and creates real school change. So if you know that you are looking at math as a school, checking out the new math options for math at Heinemann, we have some free events, we have consulting authors, and actually Lish I know you've been to a couple of those free events. Can you talk about that a bit?

Yeah, thanks so much. I can't wait, I'm going to join the next two because I missed out on the first one, so thanks for sharing that. Yeah, so if you know that you're looking at math as a school or if an individual teacher has some very specific math goals, we have everything from self-paced math PD options to long term consulting authors or half day workshops, that kind of thing. So definitely a lot to check out. If you know that one of your school goals is really digging into literacy, specific areas of reading, of writing. There are so many options. We have so many authors to choose from and different ways you can engage. And again, like the self-paced options or workshops or having long term, having consulting authors come and work with your school long term for whatever your specific goals may be. There are a lot of people, there are people you can talk to here who are really skilled at hearing what you are looking for as a school and matching you up with the right people.

And that can be really powerful for your school or district. And we all know that these past few years have been so hard on everyone, so hard, it's not getting any easier. And so learning how to support that, responding to student trauma and grief, if you're a leader and you're trying to figure out how to lead in times like this. These are all the kinds of topics that we can support you with. And so definitely take a look at our website or send us an email, we'll put information in the blog and we can help you out.

Lish: Yes, it's the free math info sessions. We successfully had our math workshop and now we have number talks coming up this September and October. So free resources and information that really speaks to the connected story of the math at Heinemann and really how we can impact and change classrooms and careers for educators to really just share our resources. So if you're looking to get more information, we'll definitely give you the links at the end of the podcast recording.

Jaclyn: Thanks Lish, we are super excited about the new live event platform. It's going to be a really, just a more complete experience. So like Lish said, if you've been to an event before, please join us again because you will be really excited about the new experience that you'll have. And here at Heinemann PD, we're always learning what else can support the teacher journey. So just be on the lookout for new opportunities. It's been a roller coaster the last few years, so you have to find your people for your journey and we really want to be a part of it with you.

Lish: And also, if you've attended any of our original events in the past, now you can really look forward to a new experience. A simpler registration, a more integrated interface. You have to check it out when the season launches. Visit our new website, let us know what you think at Heinemann PD or email us at pdevents@heineman.com. We are creating things to make it easier for you to access the information and resources that you need.




Check out the Fall 2022 PD offerings!


Topics: Online PD, Podcast, Heinemann Podcast, Professional Development, Heinemann PD

Date Published: 09/15/22

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