That up there is the beginnings of my professional learning network! I kept a couple of my older connections (the publishing company I worked for and my undergrad institution) because they still frequently serve as a point of contact for me, even now, or because the skills and relationships I gained in those places continue to help me today, regardless of a change in career.
My Professional Learning Network is small right now because I’m really just starting my journey! I feel incredibly lucky to have been around knowledgeable professors and fellow MAT candidates who are incredibly creative and open to sharing their ideas.
Big segments of my PLN currently belong to schools I have been previously associated with (be it through student or supply teaching) and the relationships I made there, with teachers who continue to help and inspire me even though I’m no longer teaching at their same school.
Funny enough, I was inadvertently talking today about the ways that I need to expand my PLN. I think, obviously, the network will expand itself as I become more experienced and get settled into my new home school — my group-planning teammates and the rest of my department will naturally become a part of my network.
Additionally, I think it’s absolutely crucial to maintain the relationships I currently have. I’m surrounded, already, by talented teachers, and it’d be ill advised to not continue contact with them and pool our teaching-resources when possible.
All that being said, I think a big part of expanding my PLN will be in getting over my ridiculous hang ups about social media. In the last few months, I’ve tried to acclimate myself to Facebook and use it as a tool to network with other teachers.
One of the great teachers running training for new ELA teachers in my county today spoke very strongly about the importance of networking with other teachers through Twitter, so that’s really my next big step! I really don’t know what teacher-Twitter is like, but I think making the effort to find out will help connect me with a variety of teachers. Ideally, my PLN would exist outside of my county, city, state, country, etc. As resistant as I am to social media/social networking, I can’t deny that it’s extremely useful in connecting us to people we wouldn’t normally meet otherwise.
To simplify — my basic plan for expanding my PLN is to start networking with people outside of the walls I teach in! I think putting myself out there in the digital world of teaching will help me bring a variety of voices into my classroom and connect me with a plethora of resources! Hey, maybe I’ll even keep a little blog going!