This morning I've been reflecting on the last year of teaching and what growth I've had and what growth I still need to accomplish.
My first attempt at blogging was called Mastering Chemistry and I tried to reason out what it meant to build chemistry students. I wrote mainly about my classes and the blog was usually a space for me to post overflow from my head. But, I didn't have any way to connect with other chemistry teachers to give thoughts or help. It was stagnant and one-dimensional and as a result, didn't grow. I didn't improve much from maintaining it and it fell into the blogging purgatory of marginal and sporadic use.
I realized that to become a better educator, I needed to find a way to continue my own growth. I needed to be a consistent learner. I would participate in monthly PD meetings (run fantastically by our wonderful and talented HR director) that would push me, but it was difficult to find follow-up time to get feedback on the skills we were trying to master in our fields.
Up until March, I had toyed around with joining Twitter to see what it was all about. I tried once or twice to sign up, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. On the third time around, I committed and joined the conversation. I met some fantastic people right away and I'm continuing to meet amazing educators doing innovative and inspiring work in their schools. More importantly, I went from being an educator to a learner, and I realized that the two must go hand in hand if we want to be the best we can in our schools.
I began blogging more and I built my PLN as fast as I could. I wanted to learn more so I could become a better educator. As I built my identity and learned more about myself, I was hesitant to "name" this space because I didn't want to pigeon-hole it into one genre of writing like I had done with the first one.
Looking back, this space has really been integral in defining my identity. I am an educator. I am also a learner. The two are intertwined and growth comes from embracing both of those labels.
I hope to continue to lead my learners by example over the next six months and for the rest of my career.