I have always thought of professional learning groups outside of the math department at my school as something that would have to be purchased and paid for annually to utilize. I figured that I could just use google to get or make some of the same connections or obtain information. The professional learning groups are going to help me to collaborate more and create low stakes islands for myself to accomplish some of my goals that get pushed aside in the daily whirlwind of work tasks.
I previously researched the ISTE conference that is being held this summer (2017) in San Antonio but I had never thought about just joining the free professional learning groups that are mentioned on the site. I honestly didn’t look into it because I thought that one would have to pay for the conference before they could have access to any of the “goodies” from the website. I’m glad that this assignment made me take a second look at the website. I joined the learning groups. I was also able to download a free e-book about digital connections in the classroom and there is even a section that details the development of digital citizenship.
When I first started teaching I was a consumer but as I gained my own stride I began to contribute. Once I started to share my ideas with anyone that I could I noticed something very odd and upsetting. Rejection of ideas that were not originated by the recipient seem to be the culture of the department. Collaboration was really forced teacher meetings where everyone had to pretend to care about other ideas when the administrator was in the room. Upon leaving our collaboration meetings the “team” disseminated to plan what they were really going to use for their lessons. This made me feel as if my ideas were wrong and I would secretly try them in my room but smile and nod that I acclimated with the plan when good assessment results came back.
As I take baby steps to put myself out there again with data that backs up my methods I can’t wait to share everything that I have tried whether it has worked or not. I also hope to gain insight into things that I hope to try which might assist me with planning or warn me against the possible pitfalls within my vision. I know that there is another nerdy math teacher (or a few thousand) that think of math as a series of beautiful engaging blocks that anyone can learn to love and connect to.
Current Professional Learning Networks (I’m hooked…more to come 🙂 ):
I have also been professionally developing myself by talking to professional peers and watching some great TED talks. I am currently more a consumer in the online professional groups that I have joined as I receive the email updates and check the websites periodically. I am hoping to post more of my ideas as I maintain my ePortfolio and share it out to the communities that I have joined with the hopes of contributing to anyone that can use it to help lead positive change in the world of learning.