A personal theme I’ve chosen for myself this summer is “reflection”. This is something new for me, this idea of choosing a theme to focus on for the summer. But after all the turmoil in education over the past year and a half, it felt like something I just needed to do in order to reenergize and get ready to jump back in this fall.
It was in this mindset that I answered a call from a colleague this afternoon. We chatted about our summer so far, things we’d been doing, and then she asked me if I’d heard any news from school. I live about forty-five minutes from where we teach so I rarely run into anyone I know from school. Usually, summers leave me feeling pretty isolated and out of sorts, like I stepped in a different world. Then, by the end of summer, I’ve adapted so well to being home, it’s hard to switch gears and head back to school. But this summer has been diffident. Instead of feeling stressed and lonely when my friend asked me abut school, I felt energized and excited to talk education, even though I had not heard from anyone from school in almost a month. What’s different? I made the jump into Twitter this summer. Actually I closed my eyes, leapt in with both feet, and haven’t looked back since.
Now to be honest, this leap wasn’t entirely my idea. Our district is having teachers take an online class this summer and one of the modules deals with creating your PLN through Twitter. The course required us to create a Twitter account and pick some people to follow for a few weeks. At first, it was frustrating. I didn’t know whom to follow and couldn’t understand the value of it. Why would I want to know where someone in California was eating lunch? Then I discovered Twitter Chats, and nothing has been the same since.
It was through joining in the chats that I was able to find and connect with so many interesting educators from all over the world (including Australia!). I’ve chatted about student blogging, free technology resources, global classrooms, and more. And then there are the resources, why didn’t anyone ever tell me about all this great stuff available for FREE? My favorite so far has got to be the free webinars I’ve found. They are only a half hour long and offer so many great ideas. Many seminars have been interactive and the audience is able to ask questions throughout the presentation. So yes, I am spending time this summer doing professional development, but it’s on topics I’m interested in and I can do it from home in my pajamas!
Needless to say, I do not feel isolated this summer. I’m excited about all I’m learning and the wonderful people I’ve been meeting. I’m afraid my enthusiasm may have frightened my colleague, but I was able to send her links to some resources that I think she find very helpful. And who knows, she hasn’t reached the Twitter module of the course yet, she may yet convert.