Guest Post by Melody McAllister

Last week, I was lucky to get to sit down with the three authors of Evolving Learner: Shifting From Professional Development to Professional Learning From Kids, Peers, and the World, Lainie Rowell, Dr. Kristy Andre, and Dr. Lauren Steinmann. It was a perfect way to spend St. Patrick’s Day! We celebrated the One Year Book Birthday since its release and all things green. 

Getting Connected

Do you remember when you connected to Twitter as an educator looking for new ideas and then began growing your Professional Learning Network (PLN)? I do! It was 2015 and I started connecting with and learning from incredible educators ever since. I have made so many new friends and colleagues from being connected this way. This book defines me as an “edu-adventuror.” 

That’s probably why reading Evolving Learner meant so much to me. These authors talk about how professional development can be so much more than the training where the sage on the stage shares and we listen. It celebrates educators who are constantly learning from their students, their colleagues, and the world around them. 

Whether the pandemic instigated this new journey for you, or you’ve been connecting in these ways for years, the gems shared were so encouraging. They offer ways to help you go deeper into these types of learning and encourage you to find what works for you, not just what your current school district thinks you need to know. That’s how you evolve..that’s how constant learning takes place. The emphasis is on you and how you learn. The joy is that as we evolve as learners, we model this for our students and they too become learners who know how to navigate their own learning. But sometimes this journey starts because of how they model their learning for us! 

Have You Ever?

Have you ever thought about your students as your most valuable resource of learning how to teach? 

Have you ever wondered what it takes to make PLCs meaningful for all involved? 

Have you ever wondered why hashtags are beneficial to follow? 

Evolving Learner: Shifting From Professional Development to Professional Learning From Kids, Peers, and the World written for such a time as this! I hope if you are an admin that you will look into this for a book study this summer! I hope if you are a classroom teacher, you will read and be encouraged and find even more connections to take your learning to a deeper level. This book was written by three educators who know the importance and value of what we do daily in the classroom to help grow the “whole” child and how those learners will grow us too when we are plugged in and learning from everyone around us.

Honestly, this book was fun and easy to read. It never made my defenses go up, and I felt very encouraged! In my early years of teaching, I never knew what it felt like to be connected with others, and I know how it feels to be a silo. But now, more than ever, we need to continue to learn from those around us. Like our students, when we learn from our areas of strength, we grow so much more and it fuels us to be our best. This is the kind of learning community I want to teach in and want my kids to grow up knowing.

About the Author

Melody McAllister is a wife, mother of five, educator, and author. She and her family relocated to Alaska from the Dallas area in 2019.  McAllister is 2017 Garland NAACP Educator of the Year and author of the I’m Sorry Story, a children’s book about taking responsibility for mistakes and making sincere apologies.  She is also the Logistics Manager for EduMatch Publishing.  McAllister has spoken at ISTE and ASTE about equity issues in education, and writes about her journey in her blog, HeGaveMeAMelody.com.

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