This summer, my Dad got his first job as a principal. I don’t know who was more excited, him or me. I knew how hard he worked, and I knew how awesome he was going to be at it. As the school year crept closer, he and I got to totally geek out talking about education stuff all the time (to which Mom whose in business could never understand). One night during one of our nerdy conversations we got to talking about how he was going to set the tone for the school year for the teachers. He was going to have a scavenger hunt for the teachers during their first in-service day, to not only get them to have fun together, but also realize that they need to have an ‘open door’ policy. To have a really awesome school, the teachers have to keep their ‘doors open’, which allows other teachers throughout the school to come in to share ideas or get inspiration from them. It is meant to inspire collaboration and teamwork so that the teachers are the best they can be for the students. Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes an entire school to help a student succeed.
Now, I bet you’re wondering how my Dad’s ‘open-door policy’ relates to personal learning networks. Well, the purpose of a personal learning network for educators is to give them opportunity to learn from each other. It is basically the same thing as my Dad’s idea of ‘open-doors’, except it is not just school wide, but world-wide. You can get inspiration from other educators from anywhere. For example, you could have a student that is struggling in your class, and everything you’ve tried to help them learn isn’t working. Someone in your personal learning network could have tried and shared different method’s that do work for your student. Sometimes we have this mentality that we have to have all the answers ourselves. In reality, we are not always going to have the answer, and that’s okay. But by having a PLN, we could find someone that does have the answer. Teamwork among teachers is key to help our students succeed.
In my own PLN, I want to follow secondary history teachers, history professors at universities, principals, and writers. I hope to follow these professionals on social media sites including twitter, blogs, and even Pinterest. These different networks will act as my ‘open door’, to find inspiration for my future classroom and help me become the best teacher I can be for my students.
Some wise words on PLNs:
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