This week’s Leadership Column is courtesy of Cathleen Russell

One of the challenging aspects of our profession is keeping our content and instruction fresh and engaging. For me, I learn a lot from my colleagues. We have a lot of amazing teachers in this building! I also love going to conferences, taking relative and engaging PD, and reading books.

Here are some of the resources I turn to regularly to keep me going …

  • Cult of Pedagogy Podcast

This Podcast is done by a former middle school language arts teacher. She has a lot of really great guests on the show and tackles the current issues teachers are facing in the classroom today. She tries to reach out to all levels and issues so I recommend searching by topic to find content that is relevant to your classroom.

  • Check out some college or university syllabi for your content or course

In music I’m always wondering what the colleges our students are going to really want them to know and what they should be prepared for. For the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to work on the Music Technology curriculum and that field is constantly changing. By keeping an eye on the changing trends I can keep my content infused with fresh and relevant info.

  • Go to a conference!
  • I always feel refreshed and ready to tackle my classes after attending a conference, or just a good solid PD. Find something out there that is very specific to what you teach. I’ve formed some great relationships during the downtime at conferences and have teachers I can bounce ideas off of. Even though some of us are in big departments we might be the only teacher who teaches a specific class or area of our content. It can get lonely – don’t let it!
  • Get online!
  • Binge watch some TED Talks (there are new ones all the time!), join an online group and find teachers you can connect with. There are lots of Twitter chats and other online groups you can find to suit your needs. Look for some teachers online who are getting active and jump on board with their initiatives! It’s always refreshing to find other teachers who feel the same way you do! (Not an online type of person? Read some books! Become a Barnes and Noble member – the discounts and the coupons are great!)
  • Get your National Board Certification
  • I am a huge supporter of this. This was one endeavor that greatly shaped a lot about the teacher I am today. Seriously, look into it. It forced me to look at and critique my instructional strategies on a deeper level than I ever thought possible and changed a lot about how I plan for, and deliver my lessons. I can’t recommend this highly enough.
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