Friday, March 29, 2019

Should All Educators Be Lifelong Learners?


The answer to the question seems obvious, don't you think? Of course, educators should be lifelong learners. 

But I recently heard an education leader give a presentation where he made a claim that expecting educators to be lifelong learners, at least in the sense of attending PD or reading on their own time, was unrealistic. 

Basically, he suggested that nobody has time for that. There are too many demands on teachers as it is. I found it interesting that in spite of his claim, he also shared he is currently writing a book for educators.

He suggested the best way for professional educators to learn was through experience and by reflecting on experience with others. And I agree, that is one way to learn.

He added that when he interviewed for open positions and candidates shared about being lifelong learners, that he didn't believe it for a minute. The universities are simply coaching their pre-service teachers on keywords they need to use in interviews.

My thinking is quite different on this issue. A big problem I see in schools is that too few are making time for their own professional reading and growth. Most people become satisfied with a certain level of effectiveness in their life, work, relationships, etc. and then hit cruise control. They don't continue to push the limits of their own possibilities.

But that's not the way strive for your potential, and it's not the way to become the most effective, fulfilled educator you can be.

So here are some of my thoughts about continuous learning for educators...

1. The quickest way to improve a school is for the people inside the school to work on improving themselves. When you individually learn more as an educator, your students win, and your whole school wins too. You make your school stronger by your growth.

2. People who don't make time for reading and growing will never break through their current capacity. They may get a little better, but they won't experience new levels of capacity. They won't have breakthroughs

Why? Because they are limited to their own perspective. As John Maxwell said, "Some of my best thinking is done by others." I learn so much from what some of the leading thinkers are writing and sharing.

3. I suggest the 5-hour-rule as a great way to learn and grow. Spend at least 5 hours per week reading to build your capacity. Many of the world's busiest and most successful people are consistent readers. 

4. The most common excuse for not reading is not having enough time. But we make time for what's important. We all have the same number of hours in the day. And I'm wondering if most of the same people complaining about not having enough time are finding plenty of time for Netflix, YouTube, and Facebook?

5. Seth Godin suggests the more professional your field, the more important it is to stay current. If we seek to raise the standing of education as a top profession, we need to strive to learn like other top professions.

6. You wouldn't want a surgeon operating on you who hasn't read the latest journals about the procedures he's performing. You want the best techniques. And your students deserve the best techniques too.

7. One of the best ways to carve our time for reading is to make it part of your morning routine. When you start the day focused on your own growth, you'll be better able to help your students with their growth.

Are you making time for your reading and growth? How do you find the time? Do you believe educators should be lifelong learners? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. Well,I agree 100% with you. I ask myself how I find time, but then I realize I have books everywhere in my house. On the floor, in the bathroom, in my bedroom...I read in every spare minute I have, while toothbrushing, before sleeping, sometimes while eating. I read on the train, the bus, the aircraft...I could not help it. And I constantly buy new books aboout topic I am interested in, related to my job as principal and educator. I also read digitally on my ereader or cell phone. Now it is so easy to carry some good read with you. I wonder why not every single educator is compelled to do the same. But of course everyone should.

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