Are you enjoying the benefits of having a PLN (Personal Learning Network)? Gone are the days when you only have teachers in your building to share your ideas and lessons. With technology at hand, your PLN can be world wide!
Teachers in your own building/district
First of all, my most valuable collaborator and support is Krista, a colleague in my department at school. She and I are in constant contact with each other, at school or away from school, sharing websites, ideas, struggles, frustrations, successes, and more recently, CI and TPRS strategies. Sometimes after school we have what I now refer to as 'debriefing sessions'. Hats off to any of you that are the only teacher in your building or district that uses TPRS. I know it would be a more difficult journey without my colleague, Krista.
Teachers in nearby districts
Another valuable member of my PLN is Liz, a teacher in a nearby school district. She is my go-to person when I'm considering going to a conference or workshop because she is committed to professional development. She has gone to several conferences with me, sharing the costs of hotels and taxis. Long airplane and car rides provide plenty of time to share what we've learned at the conferences.
Conferences and Workshops
The next time you're at a conference or workshop, search out teachers with common interests. Not only can you form new friendships, but it'll give you additional opportunities to learn from others in a more relaxed atmosphere. This week I had a long phone conversation with Marta, a Spanish teacher from WI that I met at my last conference, in which we discussed how we were implementing TPRS in our instruction. I look forward to future conversations on our progress with TPRS in the classroom.
Forums: moretprs and flteach
Moretprs is a forum specifically for teachers using TPRS. Some members have over a decade of experience using TPRS, many of them national and international presenters, and they frequently respond to newer teachers' questions either on the forum or through direct emails. I recently discovered the flteach listserve (not TPRS specific), another valuable source.
A colleague of mine once said that she doesn't have Twitter because she doesn't have a smartphone. Don't let that hold you back from building your PLN on Twitter. Many times I access Twitter through my smartphone, but at night when I'm home on the laptop, I use Twitter the most. My favorite hashtags are: #spanishteachers #langchat & #flteach. I've made numerous contacts and discovered useful links to sites, resources and ready-to-go lessons. Many educators on Twitter have their website listed in their profile, which leads you to more information that they have freely shared.
Edmodo is another PLN builder. I belong to several groups relating to Spanish, iPads, and other categories. It only takes a few minutes of browsing through the posts or teacher-made folders, and I have new materials that I can use to compliment my lessons. The Spanish group is a good platform to pose questions to other Spanish teachers.
One important thing to remember, don't limit your PLN to teachers in your field or at your level. I've gleaned valuable information from educators in different fields. So how about you, are your enjoying the benefits of a PLN? If not, what are you waiting on?