In July, I published a guest blog in Education Week, “A Summer of Global Learning.” In it, I reflected on the study tours and institutes I saw many of our NCSS members and my friends take this summer to immerse themselves in learning and new adventures. There are so many opportunities now – both at home and abroad – that you could probably spend your entire teaching career filling your summers with a new experience each week and not even find a fraction of them. There are more strong programs, lasting from a single day to a month or longer, than can be listed in a single post.
At the start of a new school year, we often try to infuse our summer learning into our daily practice. This learning becomes part of our professional toolkit; it may not get used right away, or in the way we originally thought it would, but it’s there for us. Maybe we got better at developing assessments, thought about specific content differently, learned a new language, or immersed ourselves in a new culture. Maybe we took students with us on our travels. Maybe we continued to teach over the summer. No matter what we did, our experience will now shape our practice.
Beyond the classroom, how does one share their summer of learning with others? Professional learning is often personal learning – it’s experienced “individually, in groups.” Chances are, you made lifetime friends from across the country or globe on a study tour or in a class, so how do you capture that learning and transform your classroom with it? If you’re like me, sometimes you soaked up so much knowledge and experience that you’re not even sure where to begin in transforming your classroom. Before classroom magic happens, that desk full of books, resources, photos, and artifacts collected from your summer journey needs to be sorted through!
What if summer learning didn’t just have to benefit your classroom? What if the skills and talents you developed through summer learning were easily shared with colleagues in classrooms far and wide, right now and over time? NCSS is happy to announce a few resources to share your summer learning and passion for professional development.
First, we’re always inviting our members to share their expertise with our wider social studies community in new ways. NCSS always welcomes volunteers for its various committees and programs. Our organization serves its members and our profession best with your talents, time, and skills. We always welcome writers to our journals and books – this summer, we’ve even started creating a space for bloggers to share their best social studies thinking online.
But did you know that NCSS also seeks consultants – teachers like you to teach other educators about cutting-edge content and pedagogy? We have opportunities for our members to participate in collaborative projects between NCSS and other organizations. We are also building opportunities for our members to serve as a contracted professional development consultant for NCSS.
If you’re not ready to take the plunge as a social studies consultant, we have many volunteer opportunities to build your visibility as a social studies thought leader. For example, you can help us find the next outstanding social studies teachers of the year as a member of our Awards and Grant Selection Committees. You can blog about the teaching moments and practices you’ve wanted to share with a wider audience. You can help serve as a point-of-contact with the media when current topics require perspective from someone like you in your region or social studies discipline. You can review our manuscripts prior to their print or digital publication. You can serve as a speaker or presenter on social studies topics beyond our Annual Conference, such as through our Webinar Series. You can become a podcaster. You can contribute original content to our website. Or you could go for traditional publishing credentials and contribute an original article, review, or essay to any of our award-winning journals. Maybe you could author the next NCSS book.
NCSS provides many ways to help you share your learning, build your network, and grow your practice. It’s what we’re all about! Please consider sharing your expertise with our members – there are many ways to contribute waiting for you! Our online form below takes a few minutes to fill out – and when we can match your talents to an upcoming project or program, we’ll be in touch.
I hope the first month of school goes well, and that our social studies community will get to learn from your expertise this year.