I have just reached my 5 year teaching milestone. I had read about the teaching burnout at the 5 year mark and I didn’t want it to happen to me. I love teaching and can’t imagine doing anything else. Yet I wasn’t satisfied. I was in my 1st leadership position and kept feeling like I didn’t know enough. I kept struggling to engage my students and felt like many were playing up just because I didn’t give them enough support. During the Edmodo course, I gathered my courage and joined Twitter and started my blog. My journey as a Connected Educator had started.
So what it means to be a ‘connected educator’ ?
To me a “Connected Educator” is:
- A lifelong learner-a person who is constantly learning how to enhance their students’ learning as well as reflecting on their own teaching practices
- An educator who collaborates with other teachers to share and improve teaching practices, unrestricted by school, regional, national and international boundary lines.
- One who learns in a variety of ways: online (blogs, Twitter, Edmodo, Webinars, MOOCs, educational journals, Google Hangouts & more) and face-2-face (conferences, TeachMeets, seminars, Edcamps, university courses, informal meetings & more).
Getting connected has re-ignited my passion for teaching
Since the Edmodo course and joining Twitter, I have realised that I need to be a lifelong learner. I thought that I had stopped learning when I graduated from University. However being connected has taught me that the learning doesn’t stop when you leave the classroom and this is something that I need to model for my students. I have learnt about the importance of student voice– that it is okay for students to say they don’t like the lesson. Instead of brushing it off, I’ve learnt to talk to them about how they want to learn. I ask for their opinions and feedback and then implement it. They can see me trying to change the way our classes run and are helping me to create a culture where they are happy to learn.
Blogging helps me reflect on my teaching practices and allows me to articulate the problems I’m facing. It also allows me to write about what I have learnt in the last 4 months through Twitter chats and educational websites. It gives me a place to have my own voice and to express my opinions. Generally in a face to face situation, it takes me a while to share my thoughts. Blogging is the perfect avenue for an introvert like me.
So where to from here?
My aim as a Domain Technology Leader is to share my own learning with staff at my school. Learning about PBL through Twitter, BIE and Edutopia as led to me joining the PBL team at school. My aim is to help other teachers with implementing PBL in their classrooms. I am also ready to attend conferences, TeachMeets and EdCamps where I can meet the people I’ve connected with online.
Getting connected has made me excited to continue teaching. I haven’t learnt everything I want to and I certainly haven’t made the changes in my classroom that I want to make. It has also made me realise what kind of teacher I want to be – one who helps students realise that it is fun to learn and that the learning doesn’t stop when they leave the classroom. The 5 year burnout is something I don’t have to worry about because I love what I’m doing and I’m excited to be where I am!