Reflections of Professional Learning by Tina McDonald, BASc., RECE
Reflections of Professional Learning
When I was first asked to reflect, my mind went immediately to how Professional Learning has changed over the years of my career and with that, my attitude, feelings and commitment.
Way back in 1987... I was a new university grad taking my first full time position as a ECE. I was told with a degree in Child Studies and all the experiences I brought, having worked for years at a residential summer camp in various positions, I was all set.
There I was in charge of a group of 4 year olds with little to no introduction, training or orientation. Times have changed.
At that time if we struggled, the expectation was figure it out...talk to colleagues, peers, supervisors, go back to the text books. There was little available in the way of informal professional learning. You’d do research, self-reflect or take a course.
Our roles have also changed; we are now seen much more often as professional educators or teachers. With How Does Learning Happens, our views of our positions and roles have changed, as has how we see children and families. We are supporting children and their families, walking together as they journey with us.
With these changes came the need for a wider skill set, as always we nurture and care for children and their families but we are also; knowledgeable about policies, critical thinkers, develop curriculums, individual plans, projects, evaluate children’s’ development, set goals for the children and ourselves, to name a few. I know there is so much more that we do day to day.
How Does Learning Happen supports our need for professional learning as does the College of ECE’s but I feel strongly even without these expectations Professional Learning is critical to our own development and journey as educators.
I am so thankful that times have changed. I so appreciate the support to reflect, set goals and participate in professional learning that meets my individual interests, needs and goals. I have come to realize that part of creating nurturing welcoming environment to meet the needs of families wellbeing etc I must also nurturer my wellbeing.
For me that means finding Professional Development that speaks to me through relationship with colleagues and peers, assists me in maintaining the quality of my programming and teaches me something new, helping me to grow as an individual personally and professionally as a teacher.
The pandemic taught me that I can find relationship with colleagues during on- line sessions but I do miss the connections forged at in person events or networks. I am still seeking the balance between busy days at work and online evening or Saturday learning opportunities. I think that having a wide variety of formats available would further my participation in Professional development.
The topics available must speak to our work and the challenges we are meeting in our day to day relationships with families and colleagues. As the scope of our work widens and the view of children and families evolves so must our quest for knowledge with topics that speak to us or would assist us in the work we do.
Tina McDonald BASc., RECE
May 18, 2022