Question from the Teacher Leadership Challenge:
Why might it be important for teachers to connect with other educators?
Today, I had a conversation in passing with my principal about how I've been feeling about teaching. This year has by far been the best I've felt about my content, practices, and management. I come to work excited everyday and the only thing I look forward to about Friday is the fact that I can wear jeans. I no longer feel the need to plow through the week to reach Friday. I mentioned that since I've started blogging that I feel like a more reflective teacher. I see this also when I debrief with my teaching candidate about his lessons and classroom management. But how did I get here?
I owe where I'm at to my twitter PLN. In June when I got a twitter account, it was for the main purpose of sharing my thoughts with an individual on my NSTA listserv. He asked me, after reading one of my response comments on the listserv, where he could read more about my classroom practice and thoughts and I had nothing. Sure I had Facebook and a Google Account, but nothing that was established as a professional account with an educational purpose. It was here that my journey as a connected and reflective educator began.
These days I'm involved in two twitter chats (#SCItlap and #levelupED) as well as dabble in several others. I guest moderate the #SCItlap chat and have even done a GHO with these individuals. By far the connections that I've made with the individuals involved in these chats have been the best professional development I've been involved in all year. Every week I collect new ideas to implement in my classroom. These collected ideas keep me excited about my content and teaching.
I also owe a portion of my passion and drive to Dave Burgess. He reminded me through his book "Teach Like a Pirate," why I love teaching. The words he writes have truly helped me gear myself up every single Sunday night for the week. It's also been helpful to be able to connect with him on twitter as it makes the methods and philosophy more real for me.
All in all, if I had one piece of advice to give to teachers, it would be this---There are systems all around the world that require connections in order to successfully fuction, education is no different. In order to become a impactful teacher you must mold yourself through effective professional development, collaboration, and push yourself beyond the "traditional". One way to do this is to become a connected educator and to look outside your four classroom walls. Believe me, once you start you'll never look back.