I’m lucky to have so many resources to help me improve my teaching.
Colleagues share their stories, plans, and materials with me. They open their doors and allow me to observe their lessons. This is an undervalued and underused kind of professional development.
A row of books lines my desk, each written by a man or woman who has successfully done my job, and has shared the wisdom they’ve accumulated while doing it. I sometimes re-read a professional book, pick out a technique, strategy, or philosophy I find valuable, and make it a point to use it at least once in each of my classes during a week.
The Internet provides so many (too many) sources for any question I may have. English teachers share what works and discuss the specifics of the profession every day via Twitter. People on the English Companion Ning have taken time to respond to my personal questions about lessons, units or teaching in general.
And at the end of each school day, there is the power of reflection: I replay the day in my head, deciding what worked, what didn’t, and recognizing the small changes that will make a big difference when the next group of students walks in the door.