Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Making Civics Real Workshop 7: Controversial Public Policy Issues  
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Workshop 7

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Teacher Perspectives: Professional development

JoEllen Ambrose: I think it’s very important to grow in my knowledge of different strategies that are used in the classroom and to give myself permission to try new ones. Over 20-plus years of teaching, you could fall back and say, “Well, I have a file that would be easy to pull out.” But it certainly isn’t fun to do the same thing year after year after year. What I like about teaching today is that it’s a new group of students. It’s a new challenge. Oftentimes, you have to change the strategy and you have to adapt to what’s going on.

I look forward to conferences here in Minnesota that bring in experts. We’ve had a lot of staff development by two professors at the University of Minnesota, Johnson and Johnson. Their work with cooperative learning is embedded into a lot of our local staff development. Another piece of my professional development is watching new young people come into the field of education with a wealth of stuff they’ve been learning in college. They bring portfolios that knock my socks off.

I’ve had a fortunate experience to be involved in a national conference at the Supreme Court Institute, where we were able to observe the Supreme Court and meet a justice. What a rare opportunity for a public school teacher to have that in-depth look at the court. I look forward to those kind of national conferences.

There are a lot of professional development opportunities that teachers can take advantage of. The dynamic of teaching, though, is that it’s so intense that you have to really reorganize your priorities to keep yourself saying, “I need to know this strategy.”


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