I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had an excellent career so far, complete with ten years in the classroom, two years in a regional role coordinating science, and the last three years working closely with districts on curriculum and professional learning initiatives across my region.
These opportunities have helped me to build up experience in curriculum design and assessment and professional learning creation and evaluation. With that experience in place, I have been able to write a book on professional development design, and present my thinking to others.
And yet, I still don’t feel like an expert on the subject.
Partly, I feel like this is because I still have so much to learn. Designing professional learning is incredibly hard work, and while experience does help in recognizing some of the key parts of professional learning design, every school and district’s situation is different, so it can be incredibly challenging to truly “know all there is to know” about the process.
The other interesting thing about expertise in a given subject stems from the fact that since I’ve written a book on professional learning design, I’ve become more cognizant of my own facilitation style. And, I’ve come to recognize aspects of my facilitation that I don’t do well, and need to improve.
This awareness has made me a better facilitator, certainly. But, it has also upped my understanding of the fact that I can get much better in this regard.
The funny thing about gaining expertise in any area (whether it be designing professional learning or learning to read), is that the more experience we get in the field or the work, the more avenues there are to continue to grow.
This is a great thing, for sure. But, it also further convinces me that there are, in fact, no experts. And anyone labeling themselves as such is either being dishonest or has lack of clarity on who they are, and what they are all about.
My goal is to never become an expert, but rather to continue to gain expertise. There is always more for me to learn, and the more experience I gain in the work I do, the clearer this will become.