The words in this word cloud came from the competency framework developed by my colleagues and I for PIDP 3260
Under the watchful eye of our fearless leader and guide, Alison, our diverse group of 12 educators spent the last 2 days exploring the behaviours, concepts and challenges that shape and define our professional practice. Many post it notes and flip charts later, we developed a competency framework that we will use in our practice to help us navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of adult education, an analogy described by Brookfield (2015) where “(a)ll teachers regularly capsize and all teachers worth their salt regularly ask themselves whether they have made the right career choice” (p 6).
Today, as I reflect upon the last 2 days, I see that teaching and nursing have many parallels. Just like in nursing, teaching has threatened to drown me in the current of dismay after “(e)xperiencing ego-deflating episodes of disappointment and demoralization . . . “ (Brookfield, 2015, p 6). Learning that this is “. . . quite normal” (Brookfield, 2015, p 6), and that I am not alone in this is not only comforting but motivating; if others can survive this journey, then so can I!
Teaching, like nursing, uses competency frameworks to develop the required knowledge, guide skill development and shape behaviours so that teachers can be effective practitioners. Through the work my colleagues and I did these last 2 days, I now have a framework that I can use as a foundation for my teaching practice, and to help develop my own truths about teaching so that I can, as Brookfield (2015) describes, “(grow) into the truth of teaching . . . (and) develop a trust, a sense of intuitive confidence, in the accuracy and validity of (my) judgments and insights (p 9). For example, through professional development I can learn ways to gain competence navigating through issues like inappropriate classroom behaviour. Through personal development, I can better define my own boundaries so that I can respect my students’ needs and be more open to their ideas as we travel down the river of learning together. (I am really liking the paddling analogy so please bear with me :)).
Brookfield (2015) states that “(t)he truth is teaching is a gloriously messy pursuit in which shock, contradiction, and risk are endemic” (p 1). I know that reaching deeper into the muddy waters of self-exploration to discover blind spots, biases and weaknesses as I develop my own truths about teaching will be uncomfortable, but really, what journey worth taking doesn’t have its uncomfortable bits? Teaching really is an amazing adventure. Let the journey of self-discovery begin!
Brookfield, S.D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom 3rd Edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass