I had two experiences this week that made me think I don’t really need to teach Methods anymore, because my students have got it.
First, Nikki and Reba came to my office and told me about their visit to a school full of Thugging Hards. They saw the tough exteriors that are designed to keep people out, and they thought they could love those kids and teach those kids. They saw the fluffy little bunnies inside. And if you can look at Thugging Hard and see a fluffy little bunny, well then, I have taught you everything I know and you are ready to go forth and prosper. (Or rather, you are ready to go forth and fail miserably and then try again. Let’s keep it real, people.)
“I think the answer is simple: develop your PLN.”
And that was when I really felt done. They got it. They’re ready to go forth and FAIL.
Because I think the real answer to every single question my students have posed in their blogs is this:
Build your PLN.
Because if you have a great PLN, you are going to have mentors to turn to for help. You will learn how other teachers become agents of change. You will observe other classrooms–maybe halfway around the world–where teachers and students are doing what you want to do in your class. You will see how other teachers negotiate the mandates of their school’s curriculum. You will spend your time with passionate educators who are busy learning, growing, sharing. You will learn from people who are terrific at what they do yet always striving to become better. You will be inspired, and you will stay inspired. And that is a good way to work.
And that is the hidden–or not so hidden–agenda of my Methods class: networking.
It’s not part of any learning outcome I’m supposed to cover. It’s not part of the extensive state-mandated “Rules” for developing teaching competency.
But I think it’s the most important thing I can teach my students. The importance of a PLN.
So over the next few weeks, as I write about all kinds of topics suggested by my students, what I’m really saying is: build your PLN.