National Writing Project

Professional Development My Way

By: Melinda Rench
Publication: California English
Date: May 18, 2012

Summary: For Melinda Rench, a teacher-leader with the Illinois Writing Project, her biggest source of professional development comes from, surprisingly, social media. Through Twitter and blogs, teachers who would normally be separated by immense distances can still communicate with and respond to one another, inspiring a continual avenue of learning.


Excerpt from Article

Online networks spurred me to expand my personal networks as well. While spending time on the EC Ning, I first heard about the National Writing Project (NWP). So many of the contributors of the ning had participated in NWP summer institutes or were affiliated in some way with a Writing Project site, and I decided I needed to learn more about it. In the summer of 2009, I joined the Illinois Writing Project [IWP]. Through my work with IWP, I have gained confidence in myself as a teacher of writing. I write more now than I ever did, and have gained the confidence to begin presenting at IWP events and state-level conferences.

Using social networks to further my learning has enriched my professional life in more ways than I can name. I have a support network, a never-ending source of inspiration and new ideas, and a learning network that spans the globe. It is professional development that matters and feeds my soul.

Copyright © 2012 California Association of Teachers of English. Reprinted with permission.
Rench, Melinda. 2012. "Professional Development My Way." California English 17 (3): 10.

Read more California English articles from this issue.

About the Author Melinda Rench is a teacher-leader with the Illinois Writing Project and a member of the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award committee.

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