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THE PRINCIPALS' TRAINING CENTER
Reflections on My First Summer With the PTC
By Sue Easton 13-Oct-16
What makes us special? That was my focus this summer—my first as Director of the Teacher Training Center (TTC). I have been an educator for twenty-six years in Canada and internationally, and have attended many, many professional development sessions. But I knew that the Principals’ Training Center (PTC) was special. In my previous five years serving as a trainer for the organization, I had felt the warmth and power of a group of international educators learning together. But what was at the core of the PTC experience that made it special? Even as a trainer, having always looked forward to heading to Miami or London each year, I knew that there was something that set it apart from other professional development opportunities. But what? Beginning this new role, it was vital to me that I figure it out, so that I didn’t inadvertently do something to ruin it!
So this summer I listened, taught courses that were new to me, observed participants and trainers, and listened some more. And what did I learn? In some ways, nothing surprising: the quality of the people, course curriculum, and learning opportunities are at the heart of what makes the PTC special. But it was more than that. It was the feeling that I got when I visited classes, joined in dinners and celebrations, read the daily and end-of-course feedback from participants and trainers, and worked with the PTC staff.
The feeling is hard to describe. “Pride” doesn’t feel right, though it is definitely what I felt from trainers, staff, and participants, for their involvement in the PTC culture. “Inspired” feels closer. Inspiration from the participants, who have given up a week or more of their summer to improve their practice for their students, from the trainers, who have incredible knowledge and share willingly and enthusiastically with their classes, and from the staff, who work tirelessly for six weeks in London and Miami, and are the best problem-solvers I know.
But I think that “home” best reflects my feelings during my first full summer with the PTC. Why? Because international educators are special, and the PTC, as an organization solely created to meet the needs of this group, is a place where this group of kindred spirits can congregate to learn, grow, have fun, and feel “at home.”
What does this mean for me in my new role? First and foremost, it means that I want to make sure that the quality of our trainers, courses, and learning opportunities is maintained or enhanced. I am really excited about some of the changes planned for next year with the TTC, including a new course, micro-credentialing, and coaching opportunities. I think all of these changes will make the TTC even better.
However, it is the feeling of “home” that I don’t want us to ever lose. So, as I review curriculum, consult in international schools, and make improvements for next year, my focus will continue to be on what makes us special at the PTC: we are international educators working with international students in international settings. We are different. Our courses and the PTC experience will continue to reflect this. I’m so happy to be “home.”
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