Local Love. That was the phrase that caught my eye while enjoying some yummy gelato for my mom’s birthday on Sunday. EscoGelato makes a point of highlighting all the ways their products are local—using local bakeries for their breads, local farms for their avocados, eggs, strawberries…
Yesterday I ate locally again. At Urban Plate with my friend and San Diego Area Writing Project (SDAWP) colleague Abby, I also noticed signs in the restaurant pointing to the sources of the local produce and other food products. It feels good to eat locally—in both places the food was delicious and the feel in each place was friendly and welcoming…accessible.
As we ate, Abby and I caught up on the progress of our summer and moved to the topic of professional development for teachers. We talked about how teachers need to not just hear about some new approach or instructional technique, but to try it out and think about how and why it is useful for themselves as learners and for their students before they can truly implement effectively in their own classrooms. And that, as professional developers, our hearts drop when participants say, “Can’t you just come to my classroom and teach it for me?”
Abby and I talked about the power of connectedness and collaboration for professional growth. How opportunities to talk about our ideas caused those ideas to grow and develop and transform into something more than where they began. And how that collaboration makes us a bit braver and more willing to take risks with our teaching practice…and in the process we grow as educators. We also talked about how important it is for someone in your local place—your school site, your district, your writing project or other organization—to see you as a leader. We grow leadership when we nurture leaders.
At the SDAWP, we’re right in the middle of the Invitational Summer Institute…a place for nurturing local leaders. And I’m not so sure that all of the participants see themselves as leaders—yet. But we’re ready to help them and to ease them into some accessible spaces where their leadership can emerge and continue to grow whether that is in their own classrooms, at their school sites, or beyond. Maybe that, too, is local love.