Consider this my love letter to all the connected educators out there:
When I started at my current school, I was given the amazing opportunity to co-plan with some seriously tremendous teachers. I was a new, excited teacher and they were curriculum writers, teacher leaders, strong collaborators, and people who valued my ideas and contributions. I was part of a true PLC....where we trusted each other, co-planned, and pushed each other to be better. I had constant support and feedback and it made me so much stronger as a teacher and a leader. I was a part of a family (and they continue to be my family today).
Many of those teachers have moved on and I find myself as a PLC singleton, without other teachers to work with and co-plan each day. I am being asked to be that leader for the new teachers around me and while I am thrilled about the opportunity, it is also hard to lose the support system you'd worked so hard to establish. One of my goals this year was to connect on a bigger level- not just with the people with whom it was convenient to connect, but with the people with whom it was beneficial to connect. I wanted teachers who would challenge and inspire me, even if it was from 500 miles away. Enter the #MTBoS.
I have found that (and so much more) in just a month and for that I am so grateful. I have a challenging schedule this semester and am working crazy hours (even by teacher's standards). The thing that is making it easier and more worthwhile is the amount of passion I have found in my peers online. I am still working on getting more connected and breaking down those walls to better myself, but I am so appreciate of everything I've learned so far. I am excited about everything I am still learning. I can't wait to see how this drives my teaching and leadership.
Just a few of the things I've learned:
- Those "creative" things I'm doing....other people are doing them too. Some doing them much better. Not to self- see what people are doing better and model it!
- There are things that I am starting to hone in on as areas of focus for me as an educator. Seeing the types of people and conversations to which I am drawn has clarified that for me and helped me see some of my future goals more attainably.
- Inspired by all the awesomeness around me, I decided to pursue my "Google Certified Educator" credentials. I thought I was using Google well! I knew most of the information in the reviews! Then I took my test (which was more challenging that I'd thought...it was a really good, tasked-based assessment) and have already used about 5 new strategies today that I thought of during the test. Embedding a youtube video to use as a timer since timers aren't already in Slides? YES!!! Why hadn't I already thought of that?!
- I'm not the only one who is trying to balance it all. Almost my entire department is young and child-free. I now see all these people with their own kids and families and are still incredible mathematics educators and I am so inspired. With the right mix of passion and hard work, you can have some sort of life and not sacrifice the quality of your teaching.
So this is my thank you. Keep sharing your joys and frustrations, because they are making this world a smaller and friendlier place. I can't wait to see you all at NCTM in Nashville!