Tuesday, June 13, 2017
We Are Each Other's Best Teachers
Earlier today, I gave my very first Ignite speech! It was exciting, but my anxiety definitely took over at a few points, and so as I reflect, I continue to feel that my 5 minutes of talking did not do the topic justice. This is something I am passionate about, and therefore, I am going to do what I feel I do best - write about it!
We Are Each Other’s Best Teachers
We are each other’s best teachers. Right? I love educational conferences and workshops. Honestly, I am addicted to learning. I enjoy attending conferences and workshops, learning from expert educators in the field, as well as fellow local educators who have something amazing to share. Educators would not go to conferences if we didn’t love learning new ideas and strategies! But these are events, and these events only happen a few times per year for most people. They are great when they happen, but they are isolated, scheduled on particular days, with particular presentations. We walk away with great ideas, but often so many ideas that we cannot effectively implement any of it well.
However, through my years of experience, I also know that my teachers have great ideas, activities that they use in their classrooms and successes to share with it. At Ryan Park Elementary, we know there are experts all around us in various topics. So, we build intentional opportunities to share, collaborate, and learn from each other. In essence, we are teaching each other, coaching each other. Through gallery walks or making Monday meaningful with voluntary PD after school led by our very own, we teach each other.
So, if teachers have amazing ideas to share, and we must tap into each other’s ideas so that we can be our best for our kids, then are our four walls all there is out there? No way! There is a world of educators out there, ready to share and ready to learn, sharing their expertise in what we do. We help each other grow. Connections matter, and so why not tap into this global collaboration? If we are each other’s best teachers, then we need to build those connections, creating our professional learning network, growing and learning whenever we need it or want it.
The beauty of social media, like Twitter, is on demand learning and sharing. It is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year learning and sharing. But here is the thing. I’m guessing most of us know this. So, my question is, why aren’t more of us actively on social media sharing, learning, and growing from each other? We need a learning revolution. We need to take charge of our own learning, not just through conferences a few times per year, but on demand, when we want it and need it.
I have met some of my closest educator friends on Twitter and Voxer. I listen and chat with them daily, and they push me to be the best I can be as an educator. They inspire me in who I am, and I can honestly say that I have become a better educator because of them. These are people I have never met face to face. However, I know them as if I worked beside them daily. My PLN continually pushes me to be better, and I hope I can do the same for them through my sharing as well.
I challenge all educators to grow their PLN, making it the inspiration needed daily, not just for cool ideas and activities, but also for the emotional and mental boost every educator needs. Use hashtags. Take part in a Twitter chat. There is literally a chat for everyone. And grow friends around the globe.
We cannot wait for it to come to our door. The world doesn’t know what I need. I do. We must seek it. We must go after it. Educators need to build time every day, even if it is just 5 minutes, to reach out, share a great idea for the day, and grab one from someone for themselves.
The biggest question of all is this. Why? Why take time from our busy day to reach out, share on Twitter or Voxer, take part in a Twitter chat, and learn something new? Because our kids matter, and therefore OUR learning matters. When our learning take the forefront, we are better for our kids. We model learning for them, become better for them, and share the greatness that is working for us with others, helping ALL kids. We are each other’s best teachers, and we need to take control of our learning, expanding our collaborative reach, building the greatest network of learners ever created.
We are educators, doing all we can to help our kids be successful. With followers and those we follow, we grow and learn from each other, and we are experts at what we do on a daily basis. We love it when the lightbulb lights up for kids. So, let’s do that for each other. Let’s be each other’s best resource, not relying on a few times per year, but focusing our efforts on daily, on-demand learning that will benefit everyone. We are each other’s best teachers!