Last night was an amazing experience of the power of educators working together to help students and support each other. For the hour of #edchat, a conversation on Twitter at 7:00 pm every Tuesday, ideas and excitement was flying! (If you missed it, check out the archive!) Here it is, the middle of August, a time when many teachers are filled with dread and pre-exhaustion worry. It is when we face all of the tasks that we do during the school year, that are now lying like discarded balls on the floor. We know that we have to get them all up and floating effortlessly. It often seems like an impossible task. As a friend described it, “August is like a month of Sunday evenings.” We all know that School is coming towards us like a tidal wave.
And yet, last night’s conversation was filled with energy and determination. Teachers were sharing their ideas about what makes an effective teacher, speaking from a wealth of experience, sharing tips and insights into how to make each day the best that it can be for the students. Rather than dreading the return of the kids, these teachers were excited to once again share and grow with the children in their classrooms. They had, in many cases, spent the summer focused on how to enhance their best practices and to improve on the weak spots in their curriculum. None of them was complacent about what they do. They were dedicated to learning and to improving their practice.
There could not possibly have been a better way to spend a late August evening than with these educators. I left with a whole new excitement about the coming year. It is an excitement that combines my own teaching with the joy of having colleagues with whom I get to share the journey! A year ago, I qualified as mostly a Lurker on Twitter. I followed many educators, but I had only just begun to enter into the conversation. Now, my practice and in many ways, my life has been changed by the interactions and relationships that have grown up among the people I have “met,” some simply online and many now in person.
I have worked harder than I ever thought I would, because I have partners in this adventure. They cheer me on to do my best for the kids, and I, in turn, cheer them on! We are on a journey to figure out how to make education in the 21st century the best that it can be. None of us has the answer, but none of us is sitting on the sidelines. We are experimenting and trying to find what works. Sometimes the lesson is a failure, but because we are not alone, we can share our attempts and get feedback from other teachers. It is all about Shared Growing and Shared Wisdom.
Last night reminded me of how important all of you, my face-to-face colleagues and my PLN partners, are to me. So this is a Thank You to all of you who have shared with me this year, and a Welcome to all that I will share with in the coming year. The energy and support that we give each other makes us better educators and provides an exciting environment within which the students can learn.