Reflections on Parker J Palmer


“I’m not a problem to be fixed, I’m a plant to be grown.” – P.J. Palmer

So often I find that professional development comes in with the bigger and better option to improve everyone’s teaching. I remember reading Harry Wong’s “First Days of School” as a school division initiative – and we all had to implement it. I was irate, irritated and refused to implement this into my practice? Wong did have some valid points, but was it really the be all, end all of teaching. I was so angry and I couldn’t understand why.

Thank you Palmer for clearing it up. It wasn’t Wong’s practices that I was angry at – it was that I felt that my school division was trying to fix me. I was being forced to teach by technique, but this technique just didn’t fit with my heart. Professional development (and personal development) need to nourish the teacher – particularly the inner teacher.

Please stop trying to fix my problems – forcing me to do something will simply be painful for everyone. It makes me feel as if I’m doing something wrong and it makes you frustrated that I won’t do it.

Please find professional development which helps me to grow as a person. Even just having a discussion and providing a space with quotes to investigate makes me think about my teaching. Ask me questions and give me things to consider. Help me to grow as a teacher through reflection, re-viewing, and re-thinking my teaching.

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