Home-growing My PLN

The narrative I’m hearing regarding “the” way to do professional development these days is:

  1. Get a Twitter account.
  2. Start a blog.
  3. ????
  4. PROFIT!!! STUDENT-ENGAGEMENT-AND-UNICORNS!!!

It’s true, isn’t it?! My students benefit weekly from the insights I happen upon in the twitterblogosphere that are so generously shared by teachers.

It’s bittersweet, though. I want to have this sort of collaboration among teachers in my own building. This is a common grip.

Just like with your family members, we can be most critical of the people we’re close to. So I’ve got to take Kid President’s cue: (HT @DonPata)

Okay, step 1: Overlook any perceived shortcomings. They’re likely all in my head anyway. How could I possibly know all that another person is going through? I’m happier and more willing to start conversations when I assume others are doing the best they can within the context of their experiences.

Step 2: Check any sort of patronizing attitude at the door. How could I dream of building mutually supportive relationships with my colleagues if I’m harboring an unfounded notion of self-righteousness?

Steps 3 & 4: Seek insights* from the people in my building. I’ve got to schedule time to observe other teachers. I have a simultaneous responsibility to humbly, generously, and unapologetically offer my own insights. But filter words with the palatability-and-relevancy-test.

So, what fruit are your local education discourse efforts bearing? Please share the what and how!

* I really love this word. When I ask for someone’s “insights” or offer my own, I’ve found it can remind the participants in the conversation that we’re only communicating about perceptions. This can avoid either party from getting offensive/defensive.