Friendbots: Blink and Block Make a Wish by Vicky Fang…
Professional Learning Community (PLC). Personal Learning Network (PLN). These two terms are commonly used in the education community to describe how educators connect themselves with others in order to better themselves. You could use these words interchangeably, or you could separate them by talking about the people who help you that you talk with face-to-face or on a more personal level (PLC) and those people that you have met through social media or at conferences and who you do not get to see very often, if ever (PLN).
Building a community and being part of one is one of the most important things an educator can do. Reaching out for support shows that you want to grow as an educator. You admit your faults. You admit that you need help. You recognize your power and want to share. You want to help and you want help. Honestly, we all need help and at the same time can help others!
This is key for a PLC/PLN- HELP.
I have amassed a wonderful PLN on Twitter. I have found Twitter Chats, one for each night of the week (and several at the same times!). I always feel so motivated after Twitter chats. I am following so many educators and authors. I reach out, I put myself out there. I post things that were successful in my classroom and things that were not and I ask for help. I feel like I have found my calling and I have found others that feel the same. This also happens when I talk with my colleagues at school. I feel so empowered after brainstorming with another teacher!
With all of this being said, I want to stress the importance of HELP. If you are in the hall and hear a teacher talking about a task they want to do or if you read it on Twitter, choose your reaction carefully. If a teacher reaches out for help, embrace them. Be careful to respond in a way that will sound like they should have known the answer. Or that it is something you have always been doing. Be careful with telling them they are bad or their ideas are bad. As a teacher, I know I am constantly feeling like I need to prove myself. That what I am doing is good for the students. However, I know I can be better. I am hard on myself and it can be hard to let someone know you are struggling. We should not be scared to tell another teacher that we are struggling. We should be able to have a community or network that we feel safe to go to for help. If a teacher comes to you for help, feel proud. Pull that teacher in and give them your wisdom! They came to you. It is your chance to help someone because you will need help one day.
I am saying all of this because I have seen it happen. I have seen teachers brought down harshly because of their beliefs. I have seen teachers ask for help and I have heard the reactions from other teachers that bring down that teacher more than help. I know I am guilty of explaining something in a way that I am assuming everyone knew about it. We are all in this together, and we are all in different places with our thinking. Sharing and coming together can only bring everyone up.
I would really love your thoughts on this as it has been something weighing me down. I had to get it out and appreciate you reading this.