Tuesday, April 3, 2012

PLN Appreciation

My classroom is physically separated from a lot of others because it is down a side hallway near the front offices. While most days I love this, there are times that it does make me feel isolated with regards to my colleagues. While I meet daily within a team setting of teachers, I sometimes feel I lack collaboration with teachers of other levels and subjects, in other parts of the building. I don't think this is anyone's fault, I think its a matter of not enough minutes in the day.

I have been spending my free time as of late checking for blog updates of teachers I'm following and reading up as much as I can on "flipping." I came to the realization that I know more about what some teachers in Chicago and Arizona are doing in their classrooms, than I do about what people in my very own building. I have to admit I love my flipped class, and I'm excited to share about it and talk about it, and ultimately get feedback. Aside from one other teacher in my school doing a partial flip, I sometimes get responses like, "Wait, you LIKE having that chaos in your classroom? Do the kids learn like that?" Who would have thought I'd rather have students jumping up and down sharing information instead of staring at me as I blab away. I am getting really positive support from administration, but I would like to share more with the teachers I work with. I wish more people blogged and were part of PLNs.

Which brings me to the title of the post. I am so thankful for the hundreds of teachers out there blogging about their experiences. Not only have I gotten fantastic ideas and feedback but I love knowing other teachers are just as enthusiastic about what is going on in education. I have been questioning my decision to flip this week, wondering if it makes sense given the fact that I feel I am constantly on the defense, explaining myself, or having to alter forms and change things because my class no longer fits into the mold of the majority. Even in terms of our progress reports- the standard "# of missing homeworks" and "grade average" don't apply. Try explaining to another teacher that you can't tell them what a student's average is because their grade is based on what they master by the end of the term...somehow I feel they think I'm being lazy when the opposite is true. I had to make the decision this week to continue to flip for the next term...and ultimately...I'm going to. My PLN keeps bringing me back. I know this is what's best for the students and I have seen some really amazing stuff happen. I see others having success, and see others struggling as well and it renews my energy in the project. So I just wanted to take some time to say how much I appreciate those who take the time to reflect and share their experiences, educator's I have never met have given me the energy needed to keep giving my kids what they deserve, the best possible opportunity to succeed.

I work with some really stellar educators, I'm hoping that they find their way to the web as well so that I can gain as much from them as I have from my "virtual" colleagues.

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