I have been out of my classroom for almost a year (ack!), but that doesn’t mean my learning or professional development ceased along with my physical absence. In fact, quite the opposite, I began taking online course through UBC to keep a pulse on the job I love, and I’ve maintained my usual blog, twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook group followings. Similarly to when I was working I find time each day to check in with at least one, sometimes all of those avenues to see what was trending, and to get inspiration for future lessons.
Another way I stay connected is through relationships with coworkers whom I love and respect. I find having collegial partners who you can share, steal and bounce ideas off of is key in successful teaching. I love finding ways to work with those special people who inspire me, an easy way of accomplishing this is through use of professional development days for team sharing and learning, as well as lunch time inquiry groups, and groups that have nothing to do with learning and teaching like run clubs! These avenues have all provided me with quality and pertinent opportunities to discuss, and share professionally. I can’t tell you how many amazing lessons have come out of afterschool runs! I tell ya some of the greatest thinking happens when you have distracted your mind with something else (showers, driving, run club and that last 30 seconds before I fall asleep all illicit some of my best ideas).
I’d love to share with you some of my favourite resources and personal learning networks that I personally tap into on a regular basis:
They are constantly tweeting great ideas and outlining how-to implement different forms of technology into your classroom easily.
Like this tweet:
In a recent post I mentioned their website as a great resource for teaching critical thinking, you can read that post here.
Pinterest: I follow lots of teachers, and teaching groups. I can’t even say there is one that is my favourite, because of the nature of the site it is easy to follow one link to another and one photo inspiration to another and before you know it you’re exploring the ideas that stand out more in depth on individual’s blogs or websites. I find I don’t Pin as much because once I get excited about an idea I forget about organizing and keeping it for later in the efforts to implement it ASAP. However, for those times I have pinned about education here is one of my boards, which is simply a collection of things that interested me.
Facebook: I follow Waiting for Superman (like the famous and fabulous documentary), and Scholastic.
Being a part of the Scholastic group really saved me last year when I was trying to organize different literature circles following a theme of finding a sense of belonging. Every day they post a 10 o’clock question of the day from a teacher and other educators from all over the world respond and share their ideas, so I contacted Scholastic in a private message and just like that my question was up and quickly answered. How cool is it that I was able to tap into a world wide collegial network of educators with literally the click of a few buttons?! And I tell you what, out of the many (and I’m talking MANY) responses I found several new titles to choose from that tied in perfectly with the theme! It felt like I had discovered some kind of cheat being about to find meaningful and useful information so quickly and easily.
Try as I might, my question is way too far back to track down even using the oh so powerful Google. Here is an example of what one looks like:
Whether you’re connecting with teachers down the hall or across the globe I think staying in touch, having conversations and pushing our own thinking and learning beyond traditional boundaries is important to stay current. If you really love your job, like I do, I find it actually leaves you feeling invigorated rather than exhausted!
I’d love to hear your feedback, what forums do you use to stay connected, extend your learning and better yourself professionally?