It is the end of July, so I know, you know, school is right around the corner. The Summer of ME is almost over. I will be attending a professional development conference over the next three days and I am so excited!! I have gotten the opportunity to go to several conferences in my career, with many coming in the last four years. No matter what profession or job you are in, attending conferences or trainings is extremely important for your mind, happiness in your job and how well you can do your job.
People want to do their job well. No one wakes up in the morning and says “I am going to do a crappy job today.” Obviously, we all have good days and bad days and sometimes the goal really is just to survive. (Teaching in May…….) Usually though there is some reason for those days. You are sick or someone in your family has kept you up all night because they were sick. You are stressed out by some personal things going on and are having a hard time detaching at work. However, 90% of the time, you are there to do a good job. Going to professional trainings helps you feel valued by your company, job or school. You learn new strategies or ways of thinking or doing different tasks. You get to communicate and collaborate with other people outside of your own office or school. Building these connections and strategies makes you a go to person for others at your workplace seeking information or advice. This makes you a more valuable employee and you will probably get more opportunities in the future.
Your happiness on the job is directly tied to how valued you feel at your job. But going to trainings and conferences is also about building relationships with the people also attending. I have fostered so many relationships by going to trainings and they continue to be rewarding each day. Yes as a teacher I am there for my students, but the people I get to hang out with every day are awesome. It makes going to work not feel like work at all. We have specific memories and inside jokes from going to these conferences or trainings. These bonds help us challenge each other. I feel much more comfortable talking to my colleagues or asking for help with a situation because I know them on a personal level.
Learning new things keeps your mind sharp. You know that feeling when you have done the same thing for a long time and it gets old, boring and redundant. Learning new strategies adds excitement, even if it is for work. Even if you are a stay at home parent, you need new ways of doing the same things. Finding groups or ways to challenge your self, keeps you fresh and on your toes. Learning is what we are supposed to do. It is what so many school mission statements say. Creating life long learning. That is what you want for your own children, right?
A couple of years ago, I was coming off of a really tough school year. I had been teaching the same subject, the same way for a long time. I had too many kids, with too many needs to feel like I was helping any of them. I was almost ready to walk away from education, I was that burned out. I had the opportunity to go to professional development with a pretty awesome group of people. I came back a whole new person and teacher. I was excited and passionate about my job again. I was excited to try new things and had new strategies to implement. I felt valued because they had chosen me to spend money on sending me to this training. I built relationships with people who had been in my building for years, and I did not know them. I have never looked back. This professional development was a turning point in my career. Period. Had I not gone to that one training, I am not sure where I would be today.
Yes there are challenges when you are asked to go to professional development. Who is going to watch the kids? What if they have activities going on? What about the household? What about transportation? Sometimes there are a million reasons to not go, but there is only one reason to go…….you. Don’t you want to be better? Don’t you want to feel valued? Don’t you want new ways of doing those tasks? I know you do, because you want to do a good job and feel valued, wherever your responsibilities are at.
Challenge time: Sometimes you need to research yourself. Your employer may be too busy to think about how to make you better. You may need to take the bull by the the horns and find something fitting your needs. Bring it to your employer and ask for the opportunity to become better. You may need to be persistent and be the squeaky wheel. The worst thing that might happen is you might get told no. Keep at it. But, if an opportunity comes your way, GO!!!! Use the time to recharge yourself and learn something. I promise you won’t regret it!! If you are the boss, find those people around you and see if there is something to make them better. Yes it will be money, but the payoff is greater than the cost for everyone. Think about it.
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Talk to you soon,