Dust settles, I don’t

Dust settles I dont

While the world has come to a halt due to the pandemia of the COVID-19 and everyone has been asked to stay indoors, in order to protect themselves and others, I was asked to write an article about professional development.

By Anna Karanikola, Teacher, Teacher Trainer, FLS owner, Leros

As most of you know, I have been teaching for almost 30 years now, and I own a school on a very small and remote island in the Aegean Sea, Leros. I graduated from Leeds Polytechnic way back in 1992, where I studied Nursery Nursing, and I decided to return back to my island, where my mother had been running our Language School since 1983.

I had always been “restless” in what we call professional development, and I was always looking for ways to improve myself and my teaching.

What better way to start my development, 3 years after my teaching than attending a one month seminar held at ETC premises in Athens with the unique Lilika Kouri and Suzanne Antonaros. (Bear in mind I had to move to Athens for one month, away from my home).

Ever since, I have been constantly attended seminars, talks and thanks to technology, webinars. We can see through time and experience that even though we completed our university studies, we cannot stand still and rely only on those years of studying and knowledge. The world, technology, methods, children’s interests, skills are rapidly changing and evolving.

 I mean, when I started teaching back in 1992, there were no interactive whiteboards, or e-books, I think there weren’t even computers in the classrooms and the Internet was something that we would only hear in movies.

But, year by year things did change and in 1995 with the launch of Microsoft’s Windows, I think the whole world would never be the same again and why would education be an exception?

Using technology has allowed teachers and students the freedom to discover solutions to problems both independently and collaboratively is a force for good. Technology places the world in the hands of every teacher and student inside the confines of the classroom.

But in order for CPD to be effective you must take into consideration the following facts:

  • Evidence-based – using the latest and most important research to date
  • Practical – What do the findings mean to you and your classroom?
  • Affordable – Being cost effective is vital, especially at a time when budgets are being slashed.
  • Enjoyable – often teachers’ complain that the training isn’t relevant or personalized enough, and that CPD is a time consuming box ticking exercise.

Again technology has come to give a helping hand, especially to us who do not live in big cities and travelling is difficult. There are so many options we have and it is literally a click of the mouse away.

So what options do we, as teachers have and especially now that we are literally stuck in our houses and cannot go anywhere?

  • Training courses and workshops
  • Studying for a qualification or accreditation
  • Online courses/webinars/podcasts
  • Observation and shadowing
  • Mentoring
  • Peer group exchanges
  • Attending exhibitions and conferences
  • International exchanges
  • Self-reflection, personal reading or research

Wel,l we do have all these options and with the help of  social  media, I, as Anna, am lucky to say that I have amazing colleagues, who not only are brilliant teachers, they are also willing to share their ideas and tips with us all. All you have to do is just write a post and many eager colleagues/friends within minutes, will send you not one, but endless options to choose from.

And what about time management?  There are so many things to do and so little time. How often have we found ourselves saving projects, ideas, pintables on Google Drive, Dropbox, USB sticks, and somewhere along the way we got lost? Here is where your organizational skills come in handy and technology is a vital asset.

It is Sunday night and I have already scheduled 3 webinars based on e-learning for the following  week. You see, minute by minute, day by day, the world is constantly changing and even though some of us  are considering  of settling down (when can we have a break?) reality keeps reminding us of evolving, changing and adapting to new ways of surviving, in our case, teaching.

CDP doesn’t have to cost money, it doesn’t require a physical presence, and it is easily adapted in our hectic lifestyle. Many people from our field are willing to share their knowledge, experiences and their personal work and ideas. I, personally welcome and try to share and adapt my fellow colleagues’ ideas.

 After all, the highest form of intelligence, is adapting to the new, unknown, circumstances. And I can’t help but thinking, with the COVID-19 epidemic, what will the future hold for us. We have entered a new era, unknown to all of us, I mean, no one has ever witnessed or experienced a quarantine, and whether we like it or not we must seek new ways of teaching. It is a matter of survival, not for us, but for humanity.

So, as I always say and have as a life motto (one of the many I have)

Dust settles, I don’t.

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