Intentionally reflecting, revisiting, practicing skill development and advancement is challenging for me both personally and professionally, as it should be. I sometimes regret it when I dive deep into “sharpening the saw” and take on really challenging new goals because it means that I was just in a comfortable place or rhythm in my life. When I left my director position to begin a special education credential program I found myself questioning my efforts and new goal. Now as I work through graduate school, I revisit the same questions and know it is because I have taken on another challenge that has pushed me out of my comfort zone. After all, “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” I learned this quote from a fitness instructor a long time ago and found that it defined my life goals in general, to get stronger, gain knowledge, skills and always work towards improvement and growth. Naturally, I have set backs, but these too are challenges which provide greater learning opportunities.
Despite my doubts and setbacks, I get really excited when I get the opportunity to attend conferences or seminars of esteemed educators. When attending professional developments and collaborating with colleagues it is like a shot in the arm, stimulating the practices of which I routinely use and apply new skills and strategies to grow professionally. As I meet with my fellow elementary SDC teachers next week to gather feedback to present at the SELPA Leadership meeting, I will take this opportunity to “teach” them the value of this habit while actually practicing it at the same time.
I need to first listen to understand, then be understood, and synthesize a collective proposal to advocate for our programs. In this effort to collaborate and gather feedback from my colleagues to create our vision for our programs and current state, I can also propose to them to include the practice of “sharpening the saw.” Then discuss what it looks like to each of them and what they need to grow and develop professionally.