There are very few professions where 90% of what you do is not seen by the person who hired you. However, that is the case for teachers. For most of history, education and teaching have been fairly isolated endeavors. In some cases, the profession has even suffered for it. Teachers have traditionally taught the way they were taught and there was little opportunity to collaborate with peers or apply widespread practices.
But that was then, this is now. There is no reason any teacher should play the role in isolation. Actually, given the havoc COVID-19 has wrecked on our education system, it’s now imperative that teachers work together. From helpful webinars to social media, there are numerous ways to connect with like-minded educators and push your classroom forward. If you feel isolated (as many of us do right now), it’s important to remember you’re not alone. This is a challenging season, but not an impossible one.
Remember to Reach Out
Of course, even with everything that’s been happening, it’s still tempting to go it alone. One of the reasons we love teaching is the autonomy it grants us. We’re able to create a microcosm of learning with our students and direct the flow of information. It’s a nice perk of the job and one which can lead to genuine innovation. However, if you keep yourself locked in a classroom, you’re unable to connect with the larger network.
This can affect the success of your students as well. They will, at best, be as good as you. However, you should want them to surpass you. Ultimately, if you think you know what’s best for your kids and want to independently work your magic, you’re selling them short. It might be time to make a mind shift.
Where to Start?
So, where do we begin? Well, here are three ways to start:
- Professional Learning Communities: If your school doesn’t have a formal PLC, start one informally. Ask other teachers to join you once a week for a virtual Zoom call. There are many PLC agenda templates out there, but a nice way to open is by sharing strategies, challenges, and student needs.
- Twitter Chats: Educational Twitter chats have been popping up everywhere lately. If you search for certain hashtags, you’ll discover several posted questions followed by a flurry of answers from passionate educators around the globe. Don’t be shy, share your thoughts and connect with other teachers via social media!
- Conferences: Admittedly, this one has become more challenging due to the presence of COVID-19. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to connect virtually, and it’s never too early to start planning for next year. Educational conferences expose you to new ideas, rekindle your passion for teaching, equip you with strategies for success, and give you a starting point from which to launch a string PD network. Do your homework, look at the sessions being offered, and find a conference that fits your current needs.
Remember, You’re Not Superman
Fifty years ago, you could have gotten away with thinking you know it all. The truth is, you likely did know everything you needed to impart to your students, but today’s world is different. It’s dynamic, information-rich, and it’s changing faster than ever. You simply can’t keep up by yourself. The good news is you’re not alone. There’s a great wide world of educators out there, and if you reach out, both you and your students won’t be sorry.
We hope you are all staying healthy and safe during this difficult time. Remember, you’re not alone! For more free educational resources, or ideas on how to promote passion and curiosity, simply follow this link!
*Today’s image is from Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz. Get your copy today!