I have been so encouraged to make so many new friends and grow my professional learning network at technology conferences in the last year. While attending these conferences, I usually ask to join someone for lunch who is sitting alone. I enjoy getting to know other teachers, and I always welcome new perspectives. One teacher I sat with reminded me of the struggle we often face when attempting to implement change. She was feeling both excited about what she had learned so far at the conference, and also concerned about how new teaching practices would be perceived by her colleagues and administrators.
For those of you reading and who feel the same way, I’d like to share a bit of encouragement from our conversation that day.
Don’t Give Up
The possibility of what education could be excites me! I love dreaming up new ideas and applying them in my classroom. You don’t have to change everything all at once, just take a few steps and eventually you’ll get there. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. It takes time. I can’t use all the same lessons and projects from year to year. But you know what? It’s worth it...so don’t give up.
Find Your Tribe
There is something to be said about having a group of teachers that have a similar mindset as you. Being part of a community of teachers interested in using technology in new ways inspires me to continue my efforts to redefine what education looks like in my classroom, school, and community.
If you don’t have teachers in your building, find some online. In fact, let’s be friends! I’m serious- be my tribe! You may feel like you are one of only a few teachers with this mindset, but there are more of us than you might think. In his book Innovator's Mindset, George Couros writes, "Sometimes, the most valuable thing you get from the network isn’t an idea, but the inspiration or courage to try something new." Connect. Life is a bit easier and a whole lot more fun with a tribe.
Bring Someone with You
If you are willing to take risks in your classroom, you are a leader. Use your sphere of influence. Share your ideas with a trusted colleague at school. Ask for their advice, share a favorite web tool, include them in your planning, share a favorite blog post or book. By inviting others along with you, you will initiate change in your building.