This past July, I had the opportunity to take a grad level class in a bar.


I know, I was a bit flabbergasted too. I mean, what would be accomplished in a place like that?

Apparently, quite a bit! I wrote about my first meeting here, so I won’t belabor that point. What I would like is to just give a recap of my own learning, positives and things to work on for next year (because there will be a next year!!).


  1. Informal atmosphere: We were treated like professionals. If we wanted to talk about Voxer, then so be it. If the day took a left turn and we talked about how easy it is to use Google Photo to share family pictures, then that’s what we did. I never once felt as though I had to chart my progress or that I needed someone looking over my shoulder. That alone is very freeing.
  2. A new crowd: The ONLY reason I was hesitant about doing this was that it was a new situation and I despise things walking into something unknown. It makes the introvert in me cringe! Conferences drive me crazy simply because I’m so incredibly awkward, and this would that much worse because you can’t get lost with 8 people! However, it was awesome to meet the members of our “team” and learn what was interesting to them! We did have a great time learning together!
  3. Literacy: My goal was to focus on my literacy instruction. This is my 3rd year in 8th grade and my 3rd year with different standards (all though not all together different this year). While I got a good start, between family and county fair, I didn’t get as much accomplished as I’d hoped.

Which leads me into my stuff to improve myself for next year.

Things to improve on:

  1. Personal organization: As I said above, my calm July schedule was a bit chaotic with vacation and fair wedged into swim team and all the other “stuff” that is summer. I’ve found with my stroke, I have to write things down. I didn’t not come into this with a good plan, so I know next year, I need to start taking notes early in what I want my learning to be.
  2. Focus: Being organized coming in is the first thing to work on, the next is focus. My wife will tell you, I’ve got a severe case of adult ADD as I cannot focus at all. I’m not sure of the strategies that I can use with myself, but one of them will be an online time, so I can give myself breaks. Any other suggestions would be great!
  3. Scheduling: Fair is fair, there’s not much we can do about that, but if I commit to this in the spring, we can be more mindful of scheduling around the Sundays. I hated missing the days I did because it interrupted the flow of learning.

So, personalized professional development? A class in a bar?? Heck yes, I’ll do this again next year! While my schedule messed me up a bit, all in all, this was a very positive experience, and knowing what I need to improve on will only make this better for myself personally and professionally!

Plus, I miss those sweet potato fries! 🙂