Saturday, February 18, 2017

Professional Development: Lessons From Dancers

Today I attended a meeting with a group of educators. I was on the agenda to present a program on professional development. A local dance group of girls ages 7-12 were also on the agenda to open the meeting.

Over the past 2 weeks, I had worked to get my presentation just right for these "active in the classroom" and "active out of the classroom" educators. I had researched and gathered data, designed the slide show, and even created some favors for the tables. I had invested many hours.

The young dancers were introduced one by one. After each name was called, one young lady in the group gave a "woo hoo" cheer. They performed an excellent rendition of "It's a Hard Knock Life" and then offered to teach us a dance step.

Our group of about 25 ladies of varying ages stood up to learn a "shuffle step" from the young dancers. We shuffled, stepped, smiled, and laughed as our "teachers" modeled the step for us.

I learned more about personal and professional development in the 10 minutes I spent with these young ladies than I did during the 2 weeks I spent preparing my program.

Here are a few takeaways:

  • Cheer for your family, friends, colleagues, students, administrators, even folks you don’t know. Everyone appreciates a "woo hoo" every now and then.  
  • Smile often. It will improve your mood and the mood of those around you. Perhaps you’ve heard...Smiles are contagious.
  • Laugh at yourself and with others. "The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter." ~Mark Twain
  • Dance even if you don't know how. It's fun, great exercise, and makes you happy.
  • Learn something new everyday. Maybe you'll learn a new dance step, a new teaching strategy, or a new way to tie a scarf. Never stop learning because life never stops teaching.

We often learn more from experiences than from the best planned presentations.

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