Continuing the three-part series on “Teacher as Model and Mentor: Ever Teaching, Ever Learning, Ever Changing,” 4C’s Janine Rigg gives us “Ever Learning”:
Why bother with “Ever Learning”? It is hard to find the right words to describe how important continuous learning is, especially to those who question its importance. In Harry Wong’s book The First Days of School, he says that “the great majority of teachers refuse to learn and grow, yet they expect their students to do so.” How can we have an expectation of learning and development with children if we don’t hold ourselves to the same standard? From Earlychildhood News, in their article The Importance of Professional Development, they state that “…you need regular professional development and education if you want to stay fresh and excited about your chosen field. After all, if you’re feeling stale and routine, it will be difficult to engage a room full of toddlers on a daily basis.” If you’re excited about an activity or topic, it will be infectious. If not, it will be just as infectious.
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in their article What is Professional Development in Early Childhood Education, professional development is “…initial preparation (preservice) and learning experiences (inservice) designed to improve the knowledge, skills/behavior, and attitudes/values of the early childhood workforce.” Perhaps you have extensive education or knowledge from years in the classroom. You can choose to improve your skills and behaviors or values within the field by taking advantage of the training programs which will provide you with the opportunities to develop that aspect of your job.
“Ever Learning” doesn’t mean that you’re saying what you’ve been doing all along is wrong or inferior. It can mean just the opposite. In The Importance of Professional Development, author Brenda Nixon is quoted saying that “one of the greatest benefits of professional development is the opportunity to get together with other early childhood caregivers and… share stories, swap ideas, brainstorm and help each other out.” Exchanging ideas with colleagues can reveal the myriad of different talents at your disposal.
Child Care Aware from the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) asserts in Benefits of Training that “as a well-trained provider, you are better prepared to offer quality care and learning opportunities and attract parents to your program.” Ohio’s voluntary quality rating system for child care programs, Step Up to Quality, recognizes the need to be “Ever Learning.” Each lead and assistant teacher in the classrooms must attend on-going professional development. Parents can be assured that the teachers at those star-rated programs meet that standard.
If you want to be “Ever Learning,” 4C provides frequent opportunities to do so, as well as several other agencies state-wide. To find those opportunities in your area, visit the Ohio Professional Development Network.
So, what have you learned lately?