When the Teacher Becomes the Student: My Recent Professional Development Journey

February 1, 2021

I learned more than I expected when the teacher becomes the student this past month.

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.”

Winston Churchill

This past month I was fortunate enough to spend some time on my own professional development. In addition to the actual content I learned, I learned a few things about myself.

Formal vs. Informal Learning

My first learning experience was formal learning by participating in a virtual workshop with IAP2 Canada. Secondly, I received informal learning from Rogue Penguin and Gavamedia following some updates to my website.

Professional Development

As a facilitator, I am always looking for new techniques to use to help my clients. Two weeks ago I participated in Effective Techniques for Public Participation. I thoroughly enjoyed it as we reviewed over 40 techniques in 2 1/2 days. Many times the instructor “techniqued” us by putting us through the process and then teaching us about the technique she just demonstrated.

This workshop completes my Foundations training with IAP2 Canada. It is a first step towards becoming a Certified Public Participation Professional (CP3). While I still wonder if I am a public practitioner, this designation is something I will definitely consider in the future. This was my second workshop with Tannis Topolnisky whom I highly recommend! It’s hard to be a student as I am often paying more attention to the trainer’s methods than the content. This workshop allowed me to observe and learn from both!

It’s Hard!

When the teacher becomes the student I am walking in the shoes of my participants and clients. I discovered how HARD it is to participate in virtual learning! 5 sessions, 2 or 3 hours each in length, over 2 1/2 days. I was more exhausted participating in learning than facilitating learning which surprised me. I found it hard to sit still, focus, ignore the notifications coming in, block out the cats crying when they wanted in, and absorb the learning all at the same time! As a result, I can certainly appreciate the attention my participants give me in my sessions. I thank you all!


If you asked me what SEO is before now, I could tell you what the letters stand for (Search Engine Optimization) and I could tell you the importance of it. Strong SEO helps your website rank higher on search engines, primarily Google. As a result, your potential clients will find you easier.

Ask me how to do it? I had no clue. As a result of my recent project, my website received some professional upgrades. A new plugin on my site gives me immediate feedback on the SEO of my website overall, and the individual pages. One page at a time, I am working on following the tips and suggestions to improve my website ranking. A huge thank you to Alisha Morrissey and Chris Ringrose for your guidance, support, encouragement and for receiving late night emails from me!

Available Funding

I received funding support for both of these learning experiences. Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Job Grant thru the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador funded 2/3 of my facilitation workshop. I encourage anyone looking for professional development to check eligibility as this program provides up to $10,000 per employee, per year.

TechNL provided 90% funding under their Business Tech Solutions Program (that closed in November) to assist in getting my initial website upgrades. I encourage folks to keep watch for similar programs in the future.

What’s Next?

Last week I started an 8-week program with the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization for Women Entrepreneurs called Gateway to Trade. I am looking forward to discovering if I am export ready, and how to market my services beyond our province.

When the Teacher Becomes the Student

Much like Winston Churchill, I am always ready to learn. Fortunately, I am also willing to be taught! Learning can be formal or informal, virtual or in-person, guided or self-directed. I appreciate the opportunities I have to learn and grow. It’s nice to be able to demonstrate the value of learning to my clients.

If I can be of assistance with your own professional development, please give me a call at 709-640-7060 or email me at carole.spicer@nf.sympatico.ca. Happy learning! ~ Carole

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