Last night, I summoned up some courage and participated in the TechOnDeck networking and play session at the NAEYC conference. My courage was not for playing with the tech, my courage came from having to engage in small talk within a room full of professionals whom I hadn't met before. This is no easy task for me as I become nervous and am still attempting to form my own professional identity and confidence. Nevertheless, I soldiered on and was able to engage in some very interesting conversations.
It took a lot of trust that my ideas would be welcome in conversation.
Move to this morning where I attended a session focused on trust and professionalism. Though much of the session was focused with building trust with children and their families, I really began to reflect on the importance of building trust among professionals. Relationships are the cornerstones of learning. We know this and are intentional about building relationships, and thus building trust, with children so that they can learn and grow.
Why have we so often forgotten about this same need in teachings and collaborating with adults? We must be just as intentional on building relationships with the adults we work with so that we can build a bridge of trust. Only then can we expect professionals to grow and learn within their practice.
This need to build relationships and trust among professionals is one of the reasons that I am seeing a need to shift away from traditional one stop workshops as professional development. These sessions, much like the ones at the very conference I'm at, are great for sparking ideas, passion and interest. But we mustn't stop there. We must provide professional development that allows professionals to develop relationships over time so that they can dig more deeply into those ideas and passions that were sparked at a workshop.
It will take time. It will take trust. It will take collaboration. But it will create a generation of engaged and reflective practitioners.