This week is Valentine’s Day, a time to celebrate love. In the spirit of Cupid, teachers across the nation are sending social media “arrows” at the education profession through the #LoveTeaching Week campaign.
Chats, PLNs, and sharing media of projects all help teachers to become connected educators. Using Twitter, teachers can easily connect and chat with other teachers around the world, all in real time. They can reach out to an individual to have a conversation, ask questions, or join in one of the many education chats happening each week. But most of all being a connected educator allows you to do two things, lead and learn, without having to leave your classroom.
Ever since I embarked on a career in education, I realized that I am part of a much greater and interconnected community. Despite being one teacher in one classroom with one group of students, I have the ability and responsibility to promote high levels of learning for all students through my leadership. Strengthening the teaching profession starts in my own classroom by developing myself to be the best teacher that I can be, but it culminates with my participation in a worldwide team of educators sharing and learning together at conferences or through social media in professional learning networks.
Twitter is one of many ways to share ideas from classrooms using technology by linking to a blog or website. With newer-ish social channels, like Google+ and Voxer, audio and video chats are now possible with multiple teachers able to share over a distance as if they’re sitting together. Podcasting, like that done by BAM! Radio or MichEd is allowing teachers to share their ideas and classroom examples using audio and video, which in turn is providing a clearer look into what’s happening in other classrooms with technology.
I can honestly say, I would not be the educator I am today if it weren’t for opportunities to connect with others on social media.
It’s helped me to advance my teaching practice, lead professional development for teachers, and learn from others in the field at conferences. I have learned new approaches to teaching, methods for grading, and developed a much wider viewpoint on education by experiences a wide range of perspectives through connecting online with other educators. Most of all, I have had the opportunity to pay it forward by sharing what I have learned with others in hopes they can benefit from my experience as well to help their students.
Last year, I had the opportunity to organize the Teacher Leadership Blogging Challenge to engage teachers from around the country in sharing their ideas. It gave me a window into the classrooms of other teachers and a chance to share my experience with them. And it’s that connectedness that has helped me to #LoveTeaching more than ever.
Ultimately, we have technology to thank for the opportunity to connect, but teachers to thank for capitalizing on that opportunity and making professional learning networks so powerful!
Connecting with other educators, who are interested in making an impact on education together, has taught me so many lessons and helped me to influence education in a larger way than I ever could have imagined from one classroom. I #LoveTeaching for the opportunity to impact student learning by connecting with educators, sharing classroom practice, and fostering the advancement of the teaching profession.
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