Thursday, February 20, 2014

Don't Forget Where You Come From

On Monday night, one of my favorite Twitter chats #vachat was cancelled, so I went through my followers to see what else they were jumping in on that night. One of the people I follow, Jayme Linton, hosts a chat called #edteach. #Edteach is a site primarily for new and aspiring teachers, but I decided to jump on. The topic for the evening was all about the importance of relationships; and being new to a school this year, it's been a topic at the forefront of many conversations I've had this year.

I really appreciated this chat for several reasons: The questions were posted ahead of time, the facilitator provided guidance to those who were new to "Tweeting as a professional", and the questions and answers were extremely thoughtful.

What I appreciated most was the extreme positive vibe I was getting from being a participant. Though it has been over 15 years since I watched my very first set of students walk in my classroom door, I remember that day like it was yesterday. I also remember the extreme feeling of completely untarnished optimism I had. While I remain optimistic of the profession I have chosen, I've had to become adept at navigating those obstacles which can prevent us as educators from making the impact we desire.

These new and aspiring teachers (and some veterans) were also able to offer one another some sage advice that we can sometimes forget in our day-to-day pursuits of educational excellence.

  • @mj_maher - Be genuinely interested in all of your students. Especially those who seem out of place. 
  • @ruralteacher - Be careful of the negative view some people have of others. Form your own opinions, especially with students. You may be their shining light!
  • @lfarnsworth12 - Show them that you care about them inside and outside of the classroom. 

My mother, who is a retired educator, has always told me to make sure that your professional development experiences are not strictly centered around being an educational leader. Participate in some of the same PD sessions teachers participate in. It's profound advice. Not only will you learn something new, your educational foundation will strengthen. If you participate in some of the same PD sessions as YOUR OWN teachers, you will strengthen your relationship with them as well.

Remember, as long as you are an educator, never get so far from the classroom that you are unable to make your way back.

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