The need for a Professional Learning Network

Posted on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 at 12:25 pm

I began my teaching career in a private, bilingual, IB school in the in the city of Puebla, located in the center of Mexico.

Here, I taught alongside a Spanish-speaking teaching partner for the first semester to teach fifth grade students. During the second semester I rotated grade levels, from first through sixth grades. This experience was a “school of hard knocks” lesson in classroom management and curriculum development. However, the most significant lesson I learned was the need for a professional learning network. Until this point, I was a “lone educator”. I preferred to work alone in developing lessons, managing students, and communicating with parents. I rarely asked questions as a student teacher. I was afraid to expose what I didn’t know as a developing teachers. In Mexico, I was forced to communicate, as I was not only developing as a teacher, but also as a Spanish-speaker! I became reliant on my language tutor, the school’s counselor, for not only linguistics, but also for culture tips. I would seek her out when dealing with classroom management issues, parent communication, and struggles in designing a dynamic curriculum in school full of work books. My companions, the school’s American teachers, and I develop a professional intimacy I had never known. We shared lessons, time management tips, and consoled one another when situations were sticky. These colleagues became my best friends, and were even bridesmaids in my wedding!

A professional learning network, whether it be digital or physical, must have one characteristic – vulnerability! Not only the willingness to admit you don’t have all the answers, but also the desire to learn from others in your profession.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Professional Networking”

  1. nancy.white says:

    I know it seems like more on your plate, but trust me – if you can even devote 15 minutes a day to scanning resources in your personal network, in the end, you will end up saving yourself hours and hours of research time, your students will be thrilled with all of the new engaging ideas you bring to them, and you will develop rich relationships that would not otherwise be possible –even with the experts. Added bonus: you have a better understanding of what it means to learn in this environment. Our kids know about it – I think it is essential their teachers know too. 🙂

Leave a Reply