A little help from my friends
At times I am simply in awe of the support that I receive at the hands of my Professional Learning Network (PLN.) Far from the traditional make up of colleagues at my school, some uni mates and perhaps some lecturers, I count principals, administrators, teachers, academics, pre-service teachers and students, from all over the world as part of my professional support network. Twitter has changed the way I approach my learning as well as my teaching (See previous posts here, here and here.)
What my extended PLN allows me to do is to not only benefit from the wisdom of such a diverse population, but to in turn, be supportive of others. Giving to my tweeps (Twitter connections) is more beneficial to me than the support I receive from them. Very noble of me I know, but being in a situation where I know I have made a (positive) impact on a teacher’s practice (and their students, more importantly) is incredibly satisfying. The most satisfying of these situations is when I can see first hand the benefit I have given.
Recently I have really given the AITSL standards a great deal of attention. Our school is using them as the basis for its internal teacher mentoring, and being a new permanent member, my number is up. I have seen personal blogs set up to address the standards and in the spirit of learning from others (mostly from Jarrod Lamshed), I have shamelessly adopted the practice myself – the result of which you are viewing at the moment. My grade level partner Jade (on twitter here) is also adopting the approach, and needed support in the technical side of her blog maintenance. I of course, was happy to oblige.
I now am faced with the joy of seeing my colleague embrace the process that I discovered in turn from my PLN. This experience has reminded me that as participants in digital sharing, we experience the benefits of an extended PLN, but we must not neglect or regect traditional sources of support – our physical colleagues. The day to day, real time interactions that we can experience with co-workers will always, in my opinion, have advantages that an extended network cannot replicate. Physically observing enthusiasm for change, based on personal recommendations is a joy that I have no wish to lose.