I have appreciated so many of the great discussions on Twitter and blog posts about the renewal educators get after winter break. Two weeks is just enough time to refresh our thinking and get excited about returning to the work we do with our students. They probably need the break too, not gonna lie.
But in the last two weeks, as I have continued to pursue my own personalized PD, I realize that this is something very few of the teachers on my campus embrace. As I go back to school tomorrow, many of my goals for 2016 focus on building stronger relationships with my colleagues and sharing what I have learned by being a connected educator.
Here are a few of my ideas & goals:
1. Make the walls invisible.
So many teachers, especially at the high school level, work in isolation. Three of the four subjects I teach are only taught by me, which means looking for a community of learners is necessary. But even in course alike team, high school education has been so compartmentalized that teachers operate in their own worlds. As the Teacher Technology Leader and AVID Coordinator at my site, I need to seek more ways to work with teachers on a regular basis.
Teachers attend so many meetings where nothing gets accomplished - hopefully the last two I mentioned don't end up that way. But what I can do is encourage teachers to share information through digital tools we can available.
3. Host a Twitter Challenge
Twitter has honestly changed my world as a teacher. The ability to connect with educators across the world for questions and lesson plan ideas I'd like to share the uses of Twitter by teaching about how to communicate with students and how to participate in #chats.
4. Branch out.
In addition to being connected through social media, I have found the support of professional organizations to also be helpful. Some teachers do not enjoy face-to-face conferences, usually because they are forced to attend. However, the conferences I love to attend are hosted by organizations that I value. I also find that presenting at these conference are the most rewarding. The feedback from teachers who love teaching and who choose to attend conference is amazing. I am going to continue presenting at conference and writing for academic journals. Here are a few organizations of which I am a part:
These are just a few of my ideas, but I am sure they will grow more complex as I get inspired by continuing my own pursuit of being a connected educator. I hope that other teachers start to build networks that support their own professional development in order to improve teaching and learning.