PLN Step #7 advice: start small. In the fledgling period of my teaching career, my primary goal is to improve my implementation of the VA SOLs and survive. I haven’t really leaned into blogging or twitter so I think a lot of my hesitations about their benefits aren’t based in practice.
I followed some educators during the twitter assignment that I thought I would like to have in my Professional Learning Network including National Teacher of the Year, Rodney Robinson. I found that a lot of the resources shared were interesting but weren’t things that were completely aligned to the content I am teaching tomorrow, which is priority number one. I am sure that I could spend more time creating the sort of platform that I want: I recognize that there are probably a lot of great resources out there, but I am using my lack of time + procrastination as an excuse.
The first section noted that, “schools can become echo chambers for the same beliefs and viewpoints.” I have noticed this trend, but have found a lot of diversity within my school site. I would hope to leverage relationships at my school site and through the colleagues that I have connected with at VCU and beyond in addition to my PLN.
The second section noted that isolation is now a choice a teacher makes. Over the summer, some of the teachers in my program discussed creating a website similar to BetterLessons but meant to align with the VA SOLs. BetterLessons allows teachers to share lessons and material. I found several engaging (and free) lessons on that site in my previous year of teaching. Although it doesn’t have as diaologic a nature as twitter, it allows for an exchange. I will likely use sites where teachers share resources like BetterLessons or that have curated content such as NewsELA and CommonLit.
One of the things that excites me the most about PLNs is their ability to influence collective action. I taught in Oklahoma during the teacher walkout. A lot of the statewide mobilization went through PLNs via twitter and facebook. The same model could be used here to connect groups of teachers across the state from Lebanon to Poquoson to force change. This aspect is probably what excites me the most about building my PLN.