I sit at gate 38 waiting for my flight back to Los Angeles.
Coming here, I felt guilty.
In my mind, I tried to justify it by adding up the learning I’d attain and see if it balanced out with the money I’d spend.
I knew my desire to go was as much about being with the educators sitting beside me as learning from the educators who stood in front of me.
And I did gain knowledge, tangible strategies I can use tomorrow with students. But, I got something else which has changed my construct as to what professional development is.
The presenters were the focal point and clearly inspirational. They were the reason we came.
This weekend I realized the importance of community. A community that is passionate and committed, that rallies around core beliefs, that shares struggles and a strong faith in humanity may matter more than any presenter’s research, idea, strategy, or book.
While professional development with specific learning goals in mind is clearly necessary, our learning opportunities must include the development of and participation in a community of shared purpose and belief.
No matter what the standards, no matter the mandates, no matter the strategies and practices your school has in place, no matter the technology, no matter the environment, no matter the financial support. What matters most are the core beliefs built and sustained within a community of learners. Without this, nothing else matters.
There was something very powerful about meeting in Riverside Church. We came to listen and commune in our shared beliefs in literacy and humanity. We came because we believe that literacy is a necessity for our continued existence. That literacy is non-negotiable. And that no matter what, what we do is essential.
This is why I came to Riverside Church to be with my community that sustains me in a job that is difficult and often defeating but essential.
Without the TCRWP community, the community of bloggers and tweeters, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this, ready to go back to a classroom of learners with a renewed sense of purpose. Profession development needs to be seen as more than just learning how to do something. It also has to be about becoming a part of something.
Thank you, Anna, Beth, Betsy, Dana, Stacey, and Tara for building and sustaining the powerful blogging community of Two Writing Teachers. Read more slices here.