While many of the resources shared on this blog have focused on innovative strategies for working with students, have you thought about how you might find a little TLC for yourself? As an educator with a lot on your plate, energizing yourself is equally as important as finding just the right teaching technique for 7th period.
As you know, teaching can be a lonely job. Pouring your time and energy into your classroom often leaves little space for connecting with colleagues during the workday. Engagement in extra curricular activities, evening family routines, and the pressure of getting ready for the next morning constrict your precious minutes even more.
In this fast-paced job as a teacher, how can you stay connected to others and connected to the important conversations in your field?
Many are turning to Twitter as a way to build and maintain a professional learning network.
What are Teachers Saying about Twitter?
Consider high school teacher Carolyn Durley in British Columbia (http://flipperteach.com/2014/04/11/dear-pln-you-changed-me/). After 3 years, Carolyn realized that Twitter had made her a different teacher—one who was no longer overwhelmed, but empowered—one who had moved from disillusionment about her job into hopefulness about education. Through Twitter, Carolyn found community that ignited an insatiable appetite for professional learning.
Carolyn is not the only one. Celebrating Connected Educator Month, the folks at Edutopia have been featuring the inspiring stories of classroom teachers and administrators who have found that Twitter has given them a tool for carving space into their lives to stay connected to others who have a passion for the profession. (Check out this link to the testimonies of 6 educators: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/connected-educator-all-about-connectedness-tom-whitby).
What Can Twitter Give You?
According to Trust (2012), Twitter is a powerful platform for creating a free, professional learning network. By setting up a Twitter account and following educational chats, you can receive some important benefits:
- Instant access to helpful information related to your daily work
- Connections to thousands of other teachers and their diverse expertise
- The chance to learn asynchronously, to fit professional growth into the spaces in your life when and where it works best
- The ability to flexibly grow with the changes in your profession
- The opportunity to curate and share favorite resources
- A community that provides feedback and support as you face the demands of your job
Getting Started with Twitter
If you are looking for some helpful resources to read as you get started, I’d recommend beginning with Anderson’s An Educator’s Guide to Twitter (http://www.livebinders.com/play/play/34291). Anderson has put together an e-binder of resources that can help you with everything from “What is Twitter?” to “Learning and Teaching with Twitter.”
Do you prefer watching films instead of reading articles? Edutopia has a great list of Twitter-related videos that you can find here: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/film-festival-twitter-education
After you get a sense for what Twitter is and how you can use it for a professional learning network, Betty Ray (http://www.edutopia.org/blog/twitter-expanding-pln) shares a great guide for how to set up your first Twitter account and get your toes wet.
See you Soon!
I hope to see you in the “Twitterverse.” If you’re like me, you’ll be surprised by how many tools Twitter offers to keep you energized.
Anderson, S. (n.d.). An educators guide to Twitter. Retrieved from http://www.livebinders.com/play/play/34291.
Borovoy, A.E. (23 November, 2012). Five-minute film festival: Twitter in Education [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/film-festival-twitter-education
- Durley. (11 April, 2014). Dear #PLN, You changed me [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://flipperteach.com/2014/04/11/dear-pln-you-changed-me/
Ray, B. (7 December, 2012). How to use Twitter to grow your PLN. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/twitter-expanding-pln
Trust, T. (2012). Professional learning networks designed for teacher learning. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 28(4), 133-138.
Whitby, T. (12 October, 2014). The connected educator: All about connectedness [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/connected-educator-all-about-connectedness-tom-whitby.