Finding Community Beyond Your School’s Walls.

Another #flipclass #flashblog post. Don’t you just love these things?

I love the question about finding community — in the school, out of the school, on the Moon (shout out for Apollo 11’s 46th anniversary today!), wherever. Community is so important to me and represents so much of what we do as educators. Our job, though it involves content and pedagogical knowledge, is about relationships.

I’ve been tweeting since 2009 but didn’t really start leveraging my network until I started my first year teaching in 2012. The best advice a friend of mine gave me was to get connected with other educators on Twitter since it was such a great place to find community. I started out with #ntchat to get through my first year and I haven’t looked back.

Jumping into other chats has been really beneficial for me as a learner trying to grow in this profession. I follow other chats like #flipclass, #ecet2, and #NCed, as well as a few others here and there. Because of these networks, my PLN has grown greatly, and I’ve been invited to national conferences to work with some of these fine educators I met via Twitter. The community I’ve found from these chats is priceless since I find myself surrounded by passionate, driven educators who want to do what’s best for kids. These people aren’t afraid to ask questions or admit they don’t have all the answers, and they also are happy to share their successes and give ideas.

There are people willing to build community in every kind of school climate, but the openness and vulnerability you can find in this network of educators online is outstanding.

I’m in the process of switching from elementary to middle school — now, I’m incredibly excited about this switch, but I’m also really nervous. I’ve spent all my time in elementary, and I have so many questions about teaching middle school. The beauty of my online network through these Twitter chats is that I can go to any one of these folks and ask them for ideas or advice about this transition. I can post a question about something or ask for some feedback on a project, I know I’ll be welcomed with open arms, hearts, and minds immediately.

If you aren’t connecting on this level and you’re an educator, my friends, I implore you to get started sooner rather than later. As an educator, how do you find community outside of your school building?

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3 thoughts on “Finding Community Beyond Your School’s Walls.

  1. Hi! Like you, I am transitioning teaching positions this fall. I will be making the move from Junior High (middle school) to high school Knowledge and Employability program teacher. This means I will have a class with grade 9 – 12 students all in the same room and my job will be to prepare them for the world of work. I would love to connect with you to discuss transitioning, but I could also share resources and have some posted on Teachers pay Teachers.

    In terms of creating community outside of my school building, I haven’t done a great job of this. I have a few teacher friends who teach in different parts of the globe on my Facebook, but my intention with creating the Teachers Pay Teachers store and starting a blog is just that. To build community. Make connections. Open new pathways 🙂

  2. P.S. I like your comment about vulnerability because now that I have a blog site, I am nervous about what to share. Sharing parts of me make me vulnerable in a very public forum writing a blog. However, my journey over the past few years has taught me to push the boundaries of my comfort-ability. Each time I do, new doors open 🙂 Thanks for your post!! I enjoyed it!

    • Oh how exciting that you’re starting this blogging journey! If you’re nervous or need help with somewhere to start, the National Blogging Collaborative is an awesome and free resource for teachers to coach you through your writing (I’ve been involved with them as both a coach and a writer for a while now!). Glad you’re in the blogosphere and on Twitter — love that we’re able to connect as we transition together!

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