I spend many Saturday mornings immersed in professional learning. This morning was our first meeting of this year’s SDAWP Study Groups (a hybrid of book study and teacher research). Sixty teachers met this morning to participate in one of five groups…and the energy in the room was palpable!
In three hours we wrote, discussed our writing and the connections of our processes and preferences to the students we teach…and then broke into smaller groups to get to know one another, explore our new book, and make plans for reading and exploring ideas in our classrooms. All this on our own time, because we want to grow professionally with others who are also passionate about teaching and learning.
As I was leaving, I noticed hang gliders and paragliders soaring in the sky near the university. I remembered that the Torrey Pines Gliderport turn off was nearby, so I turned and followed the road down to a dirt parking lot. And there, along the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, was a spectacular view of the gliders and the ocean!
In spite of the cooler weather (after our 80 degree temps earlier in the week), the conditions were perfect for gliding…and for watching and photographing the gliders in action.
While I have no real desire to glide over the beautiful beaches of San Diego, I understand the urge to fly…to experience the freedom and excitement of soaring with the wind currents and looking at the world from a new perspective.
In some ways my experience in study groups this morning was a lot like hang gliding. There is energy and excitement in gathering with other interested educators to continue learning together. Interactions with teachers of all levels (K-college) and a variety of schools, districts, and teaching demographics offers new perspectives and views of teaching. Rich conversations stimulate thinking and encourage actions…we can’t wait to come back next month to share our beginnings and continue our conversations and learning.
What conditions for learning allow you to soar? How do you set up those conditions for your students?