Sitting down to talk with Kristin felt like talking with a friend.
Kristen Swanson, founder of EdCamp and current Director of Learning at Slack, brings to the table an accomplished career in education and leadership, but during our interview, I was most in awe of her humility and down to earth nature.
It was incredibly clear that, in her life, she listens, connects, and elevates the ideas of others. These qualities are all components that likely enabled her to create the EdCamp platform. For readers not familiar, EdCamp is an “unconference” where participants drive the content, structure, and flow of their professional development on the day of the event. EdCamp provides ownership of ideas, participant voice, internal motivation, and relevance to teachers seeking to redefine their professional learning experiences.
Our new series, Women Leaders in Education, shares powerful narratives from female trailblazers in education. Our first interview is with Linda Darling-Hammond. An educational leader focused on bridging education and policy, Linda Darling-Hammond is an advocate, author, reformer, professor, and policymaker. She has been instrumental in shaping many areas within the education ecosystem, including teaching standards, assessments, educational systems, and education policy. Teachers across the nation continue to be inspired and encouraged by her powerful and thoughtful messages.
Editor’s Note: Hear more about this program from Executive Director Basma Rayess in our #anewkindofPD podcast episode found on iTunes and Stitcher.
Michael had suffered for years as the result of his mother’s alcoholism. A teacher encouraged Michael to participate in a program where students could write about their experiences with violence. Michael wrote a powerful poem describing the disappointment, anger, and fear he felt with the situation, but he had no intention of having his mother read it. However, he needed a parental signature so he showed it to his mother with great trepidation. When she read it, she was silent, but something tremendous happened. The poem helped his mother make a commitment to get sober and she has been so ever since.
You, the Teaching Channel community, have watched millions of minutes of Teaching Channel videos. You have responded, commented, and annotated them hundreds of thousands of times. You have tried, shared, pinned, and tweeted too many times to count. It’s because of you that this community continues to grow and flourish. It’s because of you that the way we talk about teaching and learning is changing. Yet, in all of this multimedia motivation, we still need to listen. To hear. It’s the hard work Madeleine L’Engle talks about when she says, “Part of doing something is listening.”
Teaching Channel is excited to launch its newest endeavor in meeting you where you hear: the Tch Talks podcast. When you listen, you’ll hear teacher stories and learning stories; stories of improving practice and sparking imagination. Teaching Channel invites you to listen. To learn. To do what this community does so well: get better.
Editor’s Note: Summer is a time for relaxing, rejuvenating, and inspiring you to try something new in the coming year. We hope our Teams podcasts do just that.
Planning and facilitating professional development is a humbling experience, especially if you invite and listen to feedback. So when teachers say that professional development is disconnected from the reality of the classroom, you have to listen. And let’s face it, professional development is just plain challenging for all those involved.
This year, when our high school math PLC was mid-year and knee-deep in curriculum alignment, the teachers I coach shared with me that their alignment PD, although good work, felt disconnected from what was really happening in the classroom instructionally. They wanted to focus on how to teach the new curriculum, not just how to design benchmarks. Challenge #1. Unfortunately, because the district was extremely short on subs this year, a traditional studio model, our district’s PD strand for studying instruction, was not an option for PD around instruction. Challenge #2.
I’ve had the chance to experience a lot of professional development as a teacher and this past year, we decided to do something new. Working out of our Teacher Center, I was able to ignite interest in using video to showcase new practices, capture implementation in action, and foster collaborative learning through video feedback and reflection. That said, this was a very thoughtful, inclusive, and informed implementation so that we had teachers with school-based mentors and support in using #anewkindofpd.
To hear all about our implementation plan — from our purpose for going this route, the process of setting it up, and the community building elements — listen to this podcast. Our District Assistant Superintendent Rose Ricca and myself talk about our grassroots implementation that resulted in impactful learning and growth for our teachers and students.