Professional development is a topic that makes most people groan in despair. I really have no problem with professional development. In fact, I have served on many professional development teams in the past. As a fairly new employee to State Technical College of Missouri, I have the benefit of taking part in the professional development programs offered, including the “new” teacher services. While I am not a “new” teacher in the sense of experience, I was definitely “new” to the collegiate teaching scene.
Upon completion of my first year at State Tech, I received an invite to meet with Angie, the Professional Development Coordinator. Her invite stated that she just wanted to visit with me about the successes and any concerns from my first year to form an instructional mentoring partnership. (Sounded fun and fancy to me and Angie said she was willing to have donuts at the meeting.)
When we met, Angie and I discussed what we believed to be successful about my first year and I shared my concerns (which wasn’t much). She listened, shared stories about her own experiences as an adjunct professor, and discussed ideas for addressing my concerns. (She even remembered the donuts!) To conclude our meeting, Angie thanked me for my time and presented me with a brand, new composition book to use as a journal of my teaching. She did not realize just how special that notebook was.
I have always had an obsession with notebooks and journals. Writing is one of my favorite outlets and I have a little bit of a list-making obsession. For the last few years, I have re-purposed the notebooks left behind by my students as they move onto the next year’s courses. I don’t mind recycling, plus some of those kids drew really great sketches for me to enjoy every time I use their discarded notebooks. When I was in grade school, my favorite notebooks were made from recycled paper. I loved the tint of the gray pages and the softness of writing on the thicker sheets. When my friend Erica gave me a journal for my birthday a few years ago, I was so excited. A new notebook just for me! I used that journal to begin the writing for my blog.
When Angie presented me with this new notebook, my joy was instantaneous and I thanked her with a huge hug. Who knows what great things I can do with those fresh, lined pages!
How do you feel about a new notebook or paper pad?
Whether it be a part of your own personal growth or to measure professional development, keeping a journal is a terrific way to document what you experience. Making notes about your adventures allows the emotions to stay fresh and the lessons lasting. I often record things my kids say or do in my journals. I don’t want to forget those moments and jotting them down keeps the memory alive. (Goodness knows how easily those childhood curiosities and conundrums fade.)
I encourage you to take note of the things you are grateful for in life or keep a running list of the talents and skills you possess. There is no better boost than to be reminded of your own awesomeness in writing. Keeping a gratitude journal sustains a healthy outlook and thankful attitude. If you have the opportunity, share a journal or notepad with someone who could use their own fresh start. The pages you provide might just be the note of encouragement they need. Be sure to take note of the positivity that a blank slate provides and open up a world of possibility within those lines.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. Save the planet and give the gift of going green by using recycled paper products. Give old pages new life.