If you are feeling lonely in your teacher journey… you are doing it wrong. Teaching is about sharing, collaborating, and growing. The concept of closing the door and focusing only on your own teaching in your own space is not what our profession is all about.
As a second-year teacher, I remember the excitement that ran through me about leading my students to participate in a certain project-based learning activity. I bolted down the hall with great enthusiasm to share my excitement with a veteran teacher I greatly respected. Unfortunately, the teacher’s reaction was cold and even negative. He seemed offended I was trying a strategy he did not believe was worth the time it took. As I thought about it further, I realized this teacher would be the only one not using this new strategy, and perhaps he felt a loss of solidarity as I crossed over to “the dark side.” That encounter taught me a couple of things. First, I realized out-of-the-box thinking can be received in two ways: with fervor or hostility. Each response depends on the person we are sharing the new idea with. I realized the same goes for enthusiasm. While some colleagues find the enthusiasm to be infectious, others perceive it as a threat.
The colleagues that we see face-to-face, I like to think of as our Professional Learning Community (PLC). Our PLC can be a powerful group to grow and change with, but change takes time. Sometimes we need to find a group more in alignment with who are in the moment, social media provides us with the venue to customize our very own Professional Learning Network (PLN). These are people you can connect with at any time about some very unique teaching strategies and concepts that are most meaningful to your growth in-the-moment.
Who are the people in your PLN? Compose a post on you favorite social media site (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc…) and tag your top 5 PLN members. Use #PLN and #wanderlustEDU to share with other readers. Here are a few of my favorite PLN members (there are MANY more).
Understanding who you are in the change process is important. More about you PLC and PLN can be found here… better yet check out Chapter 4: Helping Others Along and Finding Your Tribe in WanderlustEDU: An Educator’s Guide to Innovation, Change, and Adventure.
Let’s Do This!