Improving My Teaching

At some point, each of us comes to the realization that we have so much to learn, and a long way to go. One such AHA moment happened many years ago when I was working on improving my teaching practices.

I encouraged my students to create a mobile to symbolize what they had learned. One of my students created a collage of a beautiful zebra using black and white bar codes to represent consumerism. She even put it into a frame behind glass. I was impressed by her creative expression and I gave her a top grade for the assignment.

The following year, I was fortunate to participate in a professional development course about examining student work. “Look for evidence of learning. What do you see?”

It was then that I took the opportunity to evaluate my assignments in the context of what the student learned. Although the zebra collage was creative and beautiful, I realized it didn’t take her learning a step further, the way it was meant to.

Until the glass over the zebra shattered a few years ago, it remained a physical reminder of how important professional development is and how it results in improving my teaching – for both my benefit and that of my students.

Some food for thought:

  • In what teaching situations have you become the learner?
  • Have you ever brought lessons from PD into the classroom?

Professional Learning Board is dedicated to providing real, practical PD for teachers. Explore the course catalog here


Ellen Paxton is the Chief Learning Officer of Professional Learning Board. As a two time National Board Certified Teacher, Ellen has successfully designed and delivered research-based and standards-aligned curriculum to help teachers meet their continuing education requirements. Through, and, Ellen has established and maintained partnerships with several accredited universities, higher education institutions, teachers’ unions and state Departments of Education while overseeing curriculum development, alignment, implementation at the classroom level and strategic direction.