Day 16: What is the most powerful aspect of being a connected educator? What are you grateful for?
As the only foreign language teacher in my district, it is absolutely essential for me to be connected to other teachers via the Internet. I teach with some excellent, helpful people, several of whom took several years of foreign languages in high school and college and some of whom have picked up other languages in the military or other life experience. They are awesome, and I get some good ideas from them, but it’s simply not the same as having someone else who teaches a language there with me to brainstorm and bounce ideas off of.
I have several foreign language teacher friends from college, one from high school, and I stay in touch with my high school teacher, and they are priceless resources. But they total roughly 6 people. That’s a great place to start, but I’m not in frequent, regular contact with any of them.
Enter Twitter. And Pinterest. And blogging. While I am definitely lacking in a face-to-face network of language teachers, I can make up for it online, where there are thousands of teachers willing and ready to share their successes, their failures, their ideas, and their thoughts. I can’t imagine being in my shoes, in a small, rural district, twenty years ago. Doing it all myself? I would go crazy! Instead, great ideas, awesome resources, and good advice is just a few clicks away. I can’t possibly express how grateful I am for my online PLN.
The discovery of a few key blogs, then a Twitter PLN, and then a landslide of awesome people and resources has changed my teaching forever. And, more importantly, for the better. I’ll never be the same teacher I was even a year ago, and I’m so glad! I know that I’ve got a lot to learn, but I’m getting there, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the journey!