Here in Virginia, and probably in every other state, those of us with a teaching license must file for a renewal on a regular basis.
Mine expires this summer but our overly-large school district wants the paperwork by April and this weekend I’m going against my usual procrastinating nature to get it done early.
The process involves presenting to my boss evidence that I’ve completed a certain number of hours of professional development activities that will, according to the state manual, “update [my] professional knowledge and skills”.
Among the activities specifically listed in the state manual, as you might expect, are taking formal classes, attending and presenting at professional conferences, getting published, and other examples of the usual academic undertakings.
Although I’ve accumulated more than enough of that traditional stuff over the past five years, I thought this time around it might be fun to push things a little and see just how committed the folks running our educational system are to all their talk about “21st century skills”.
I plan to submit the time I’ve spent writing this blog for credit as one of my professional development activities.
While some of the stuff posted here didn’t require a lot of work (much less thought), many of the entries have incorporated plenty of reading and research, discussions with colleagues, reflections on my own ideas and those of others, and lots of writing and rewriting.
The same kinds of activities expected in a formal academic setting.
More importantly for me, however, are the many, many connections I’ve made as a direct consequence of this blog being out on the open web.
A PLN that updates my knowledge and skills (professional and otherwise) every day and which is larger than any that could be created through the traditional activities outlined by the state.
Ok, so maybe this rantfest isn’t what someone in the Virginia Department of Education was thinking of when they created the rules for our license renewal process.
Or when they wrote “One of the most vital qualities of all professionals is the commitment to continuous learning and growth in knowledge and skill.” for the opening line of the Virginia License Renewal Manual.
But that concept of “continuous learning and growth” is exactly one major reason why I write this blog and why it will be included in my paperwork along with an assortment of normal, expected, point-generating activities.
And, just so our state Secretary of Education has plenty of advanced notice, next time my license comes up for renewal, I’ll be submitting my Twitter feed. :-)
Photograph by woody1778, used under a Creative Commons license.