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Professional Development

NAA publishes fresh, new content every week covering a wide variety of topics related to the field of aftershool. In addition, NAA offers a variety of opportunities for virtual professional development (PD) through meaningful content, conversations and connections. Click here to see full descriptions of virtual PD offerings.

Reading Is a Way to Learn

Development is not about luck. As the quote from Charles Tremendous Jones says: "The only difference between who you are today and the person you will be in five years will come from the books you read and the people you associate with."

As afterschool professionals and leaders, we know that reading and relationships are important in youth development—but how about in our own development? Strong professionals and leaders read as a way to learn. This learning is critical and is one of the most powerful levers we have to build our knowledge and skills.

Reading challenges our thinking, provides insight and establishes a foundation for action. Here are some books afterschool leaders are currently reading.

Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin
With clarity and humor, Rubin, bestselling author of The Four Tendencies and The Happiness Project, illuminates one of her key realizations about happiness: For most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm. And for most of us, a rigid, one-size-fits-all solution doesn't work. In this easy-to-read and hard-to-put-down book, Rubin suggests more than 150 short, concrete clutter-clearing ideas, so each reader can choose the ones that resonate most. With a sense of fun and a clear idea of what's realistic for most people, Rubin suggests dozens of manageable steps for creating a more serene, orderly environment—one that helps us create the lives we yearn for.

Reinforcements by Heidi Grant
In a world where most people are wired to be helpful, yet hate to ask for help themselves, Grant's pragmatic book explains how to get it right. With humor, insight, and engaging storytelling, Grant describes how to elicit helpful behavior from your friends, family, and colleagues—in a way that leaves them feeling genuinely happy to lend a hand. People have a natural instinct to help other human beings; you simply need to know how to channel this urge into what it is you specifically need them to do. It's not manipulation. It's management.

Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More and Live Bolder by Reshma Saujani
Imagine if you lived without the fear of not being good enough. If you didn't care how your life looked on Instagram or worry about what total strangers thought of you. Imagine if you could let go of the guilt and stop beating yourself up for tiny mistakes. What if, in every decision you faced, you took the bolder path? In this book inspired by her popular TED talk, Reshma Saujani—New York Times bestselling author, Founder of Girls Who Code and NAA19 Keynote Speaker—empowers women and shares an array of powerful insights and practices to make bravery a lifelong habit.

The Compassionate Achiever – How Helping Other Fuels Success by Christopher L. Kukk
Recent science shows that to achieve durable success, we need to be more than merely achievers: We need to be compassionate achievers. In his book, Kukk reveals the profound benefits of practicing compassion and shares his unique four-step program for cultivating compassion. He also identifies the skills every compassionate achiever should master—listening, understanding, connecting, acting—and describes how to develop each, with clear explanations, easy-to-implement strategies, actionable exercises, and real-world examples.

Courtesy of NAA.