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Continuous Learning: Making Time to Grow

Development Director, Elise Ricci, is here to emphasize the importance of continuous learning in the workplace and during personal time. -Ed.

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Do you ever feel like (eek!) you’re losing your edge? You know, the one you had fresh out of college or grad-school, or one-year into a new job? The refreshing feeling you get when you’ve absorbed new information, reflected, and begun to integrate some of your new skills at work or home is extremely satisfying.  Yet, we often fail to prioritize continuous learning in the slog of our many daily responsibilities.

What recent learnings have you integrated into your work?  Or, are you looking for a few tips to help get back in the swing of things?  As educators and administrators, it’s important to make time for ourselves! Read on for some simple tricks to jumpstart your continuing education.

Prioritize Reading

Often, we focus on what we know. Makes sense, right? Especially when we have gone through a yearly cycle (or two, or ten!), and we begin to feel as if we’ve ‘mastered’ our work flow. The fact is, information on everything is increasing every day. It’s been said that the most successful people read for 2-3 hours a day. So, whether or not you skim the news for 25 minutes in the morning, or you subscribe to a quarterly journal that you consume over a month, (or both), good job!

If you don’t currently practice reading, start today. Begin with carving out 15 minutes at the start of your work day, with the goal to target topics relevant to your profession. I’ve subscribed to a variety of relevant blogs and newsletters for several years. They don’t always hit the mark, but, I’ve picked up several new ideas related to my profession just by sampling and remaining consistent. It helps maintain the edge!

Find Your Favorite…

Another good idea is to immerse yourself in some sort of professional development that you genuinely enjoy! There are so many varieties to choose from; online, in-person, blended, video courses etc. You just need to find what works for you, and on a topic you enjoy or want to learn more about.

Your Style Matters…

Also, know your learning style: are you a visual learner? Auditory? Need a quiet room a focus? If you identify what speaks to your personal learning style, you’re likely to enjoy the course tenfold vs. trying to stick it out with a learning opportunity that doesn’t engage with your style.  I am a visual and auditory thinker, and I love going to conferences once a year. I’ve really enjoyed CASE NAIS as well as other CASE Conferences for their dynamic speakers and accompanying slides. Hopefully you can find an experience that works for you, too!

Working full time in a school sometimes feels like a circus; you’re juggling your day-to-day, helping troubleshoot problems that arise, and once the school year starts there’s no slowing down— not to mention balancing home and personal responsibilities.

As you settle into your job, and the years tick by, don’t forget to nurture your knowledge! Growing in our work and lives means taking steps to acquire new skills and reflect on how you might evolve your thinking as a valuable member of your community!