Professional Space – A New Definition

Meeting at a Meeting?

cc licensed (BY) flick photo 

Oh where does the time go!  I’ve had these thoughts rattling around in my head for a couple of weeks since our last Lead Team meeting but haven’t had a chance to get them down until now.

What got the ball rolling was a great conversation about implementing our Learning Coach initiative in Parkland School Division for next year.  We reviewed the general structure of how the coaches would be working in the schools and had some discussion around that.  Following this we read a great article by Joellen Killion, Are You Coaching Heavy or Light? and engaged in some further great conversation about the coaching process.

Further into the meeting, we also touched on the topic of the Special Ed. Key Contacts for each school and how that role is going to be changing to support students in an inclusive environment through offering some support to classroom teachers.  And then we spoke about wrapping up our Cycle 4 AISI project where PSD has been working to embed critical thinking skills in teaching and learning through the use of a lead teacher model.

The common thread through all of these conversations was the importance of teachers collaborating.  It’s just not optional any more. For the good of the students, teachers, and the profession, classrooms and offices can no longer be silos.

Back in the day, professional space was a term that was used to basically signify that people should back off and let the teacher use their professional judgement.  It gave teachers room to make decisions with a subtle (or not so subtle) implication that a teacher’s professional judgement should not be questioned.

Well folks, it’s a whole new world now!  And last week’s conversations sparked a whole new definition of professional space for me.  A teacher’s professional space is a learning space, a space to invite others in to share and experiment with the intention of elevating their practice.  It’s a much more public space now, a shared space where teachers are learners just as much as they are teachers.  This is the place where a good teacher makes him/herself a great teacher with the help of colleagues.  Each teacher has their own space and needs to use it strategically and purposefully and to make it an exciting space that moves them forward in their practice and their students forward in their learning.

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