As an educator, you should always be trying to improve yourself. There are many avenues in which you can do this. The obvious one…and the one most everyone had to take in years past…is continuing education through the college system. You worked from your bachelor degree, on to your master’s, and maybe even a doctorate. Your other option was to work toward another degree/major. These choices never appealed to me. I never felt a need or passion to work toward another degree. I have nothing against advanced degrees and I applaud anyone who works to achieve them, I simply do not see the need for it in my situation. If I don’t have the drive to do it, I will not be successful with it. This may change in the years to come, but right now I do not want to sacrifice my time or money working toward something just because I am “supposed to”.
Don’t get me wrong, I love learning new things. That is why I love what I do…things are always changing and it is my job to stay on top of that. I do not choose to grow professionally through college courses. My learning choice is my PLN.
- I do my best to keep up with my Twitter stream. I have met quite a few amazing educators through Twitter and look forward to what many share on a daily basis.
- I also enjoy a few Twitter chats a week. #TXed is my favorite chat. I will drop in on others randomly to see what is being discussed that day.
- I am a blog follower, so Monday evening is usually my time to go through my RSS feed to see what I can discover.
- I enjoy a few webinars a week: Two Guys and some iPads and EduAllStars are my favorites.
- My fellow ITS are a great resource for me. We share all the time and learn from each other.
Does not having a master’s degree make me less successful at my job? I would argue NO. I am continuing to grow as an educator and what I am learning is directly related to my position. I can work at my pace and focus on what I feel is most important for the teachers and students I am supporting. Not only that, as the technology and needs change, so can my focus.
My PLN is what works best for me. That does not mean it is the right choice for everyone. Keep in mind as you work through your years of service, the important thing is that you grow as an educator. How you do it is up to you. Spend some time contemplating the different alternatives available to you. Find what works best for you and focus your efforts there.