PLNs should include the teacher next door
We talk a lot on Twitter and in each other's blogs about the value of connectedness. Our PLNs are those folks who share amazing ideas, engage in research, think passionately about practice, and care deeply for students. I love my mornings with a hot cup of coffee, Twitter, and my RSS feed on the iPad in a comfy chair. By the time the rest of the family gets up for the day, I'm charged and ready to go to school.
It's at school, though, where the real action occurs. It is there I sit with my colleagues and strategize about curriculum, community building, school culture and climate, nurture the individual kids in our classes. It is here where my most intimate professional connections exist.
The Teacher Next Door
Given the nature of our jobs, few people regularly see us in action which is why a trusted teaching partner is invaluable. Together, day to day, we make good ideas great, make challenging days bearable, and find hope in moments of frustration. My PLN for the most part is good at the big picture, showing me the forest view of education, philosophies, and practice. Having a trusted teaching partner can bring thoughtful reflection to the small picture; with them we examine moments, individuals, specific outcomes, unique challenges.
So while I engage with my amazing professional learning network across the globe, I also need to nurture relationships with the remarkably dedicated educators here at home.