Friday, April 19, 2013

Joining the Network

As I sit here typing on the mini iPad provided by the math department for the semester, I have begun to realize just how easy it is to join the network with one tap by my finger. Of course, the World Wide Web is not my only network. As teachers, we are privy to an incredible amount of resources by just being who we are! From having classes with peers in the same education program to being members of national clubs such as the National Education Association, we have a network more valuable than many of us really understand until much later in our careers.

To really put this into perspective, a few weeks ago on an online program, I was able to have a conversation about flipped instruction, one-to-one schools, and Common Core with a high school math teacher in California. As a soon to be teacher, I was eager to hear what he had to share about his many years of teaching. Not only did I learn from him but he learned from me! The network and flow of information does not only go from older to younger teachers, but useful information can come from either direction. Yet another example is my brother. He is finishing his first year of teaching high school math in Nebraska. On many occasions, he has asked for my opinions on certain lessons, and I know that some time in the future, I will ask him questions. In this sense, my network is close to home. But we have to remember that as teachers, we have more than just family that might be teachers. We have more than those people we spent hours studying with to pass a final in the education program. We have more than our advisors who have shown us what we need to know. We have more than the other teachers in our school (or district). We have every teacher in the state or the country or even the world that is willing to share their knowledge. And in my experience (however limited), teachers are almost always willing to pass information. After all, our job is to inform.

I cannot begin to describe just how many people I have met or become friends with in my professional network. Honestly, I am constantly surprised by how many people I have available to talk to about my future career. Better yet, I know that my network of support will forever increase as long as I am a teacher. That is such a comforting feeling to know that no matter the problem, I will always have a pluthera of people to talk to about it. So remember that you will always have someone to discuss with. Luckily, social networks like Facebook, Google Plus, Linked In, and others are always at the touch of our fingertips.