PLN. Professional Learning Network. Super Friends. Group Therapy. Besties. Thought Partners. Critical Friends. Work Family, Lifeline… I don’t care what you call the group of peeps, who push you to be the best version of yourself, challenge you to think and rethink, encourage you to breathe, inspire you to dream, nurture you through growth, nurse you through tough times, force you to laugh, and help you become the educator you were born to be…I just hope you have a group of these people you can call yours.
I have been blessed over the course of my career to have found people along the way that have become so much more than a coworker and have moved into the sacred space of trusted colleague and true collaborator.
- The teacher down the hall that taught me how to lead students into learning.
- The mentor who showed me the definition of commitment to my craft.
- The principals who took the time to ensure that I had the opportunities and support to grow.
- The co-teacher who taught me that collaborating is truly about co-laboring, sharing the load, and living the work together.
- The honor guard sponsor who didn’t let me get away with anything less than 100%, and still doesn’t.
- The coordinator of another content area that taught me so much about my own.
- The team of teachers who accepted my limited knowledge of elementary education and let me learn along side their students.
- The leader who in one year taught me who I wanted to be as an educator and gave me the tools to get there.
- The curriculum department who taught me the true meaning of being a team.
- The facilitator turned director that has taught me more about courage and grit and flexibility than I ever thought possible.
This is just the beginning, and far from an exhaustive list of the incredible educators who have walked hand-in-hand with me, dedicated to student success, and willing to learn together along the way. (Some pictured, some explained, too many to list in one post in either format)
Beyond the individual relationships I have made within my team, campus or district-I have become unspeakably grateful for the wider reaching collaboration and extended Professional Learning Networks that are available in the North Texas area.
My first lifeline group was MetroCrest, the area supervisors for ELAR Curriculum. I showed up unannounced to one of their meetings within 3 weeks of starting in a Central Office Role over 4 years ago. I have seen or connected with THREE people from that group THIS WEEK!! I don’t work with ELAR curriculum any more, but the relationships I formed with this group and the trust that I have in the quality (and honesty) of their feedback keeps me connected to these colleagues.
How I LITERALLY feel about every single MetroCrest member who mentored and invested in me.
Now that I live in the Professional Learning world full time, my must-attend, can’t-miss, much-needed group therapy/critical friend group is Learning Forward North Texas. These PL rockstars fill my bucket! Friday was our first 2017-18 meeting-and we had such an unbelievable amount of brain power in that room. I truly believe with the collective knowledge, experience and passion for adult learning we could (and are) changing the world. And the coolest part-it is an open group-with only one expectation: that you come ready and willing to share and grow. (If you want to join the fun-check us out: www.lfntx.com)
Amy Poehler should definitely hang out with #LFNTX, this group gets things done TOGETHER, supports EACH OTHER, and is made up of DREAMERS.
This year my PLN expanded in a way that I could not have predicted when I was accepted as a member of Learning Forward’s Academy Class of 2019. This two year learning journey launched in July, and I was introduced to a team of strangers who I was born to work with. Their thinking, experience, and feedback has already impacted my work in meaningful and measurable ways.
And to think…this just represents the people that I have MET and meet with FACE TO FACE! We will have to talk about Twitter another day!!
So how do you get a Professional Learning (Lifeline) Network of your very own? YOU SHOW UP. The group for you is out there, and they NEED YOU, just as much as you need them. They need you to share what you are learning. They need you to be honest about what is working and what needs revision. They need your feedback.
I understand the power of showing up, because so many have SHOWN UP for me. Thanks, Super Friends, I am who I am because of you.
Still Learning…with my peeps…