Extend Your Professional Learning Network. Today I was connecting with a few of our TeacherReady instructors and in doing so enjoyed the following “revelation” in an email exchange from Dr. Kim Thomas, an assistant principal: One of our new teachers this year was in one of my TeacherReady classes. “I knew her name sounded familiar, so I asked her and she said, ‘YES! OMG! I loved the program.'” My response was “so cool..,” and immediately went to thinking about how TeacherReady offers new and early career teachers like Miranda an opportunity to extend their professional learning network.
In the past we’ve written about how social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest allow teachers and leaders to engage with and learn from other professionals and organizations without limitation. In such platforms, the key is to identify thought leaders and high-achieving educators and organizations, even if it’s just a handful to begin with, and connect with them to “see” their message/content.
However, teacher candidates and early career teachers might also think about extending their professional learning network by looking within their own school, or school district, or teacher certification program. Thus begins such a connection for Miranda with Dr. Thomas, pictured to the right, now building on their initial engagement in TeacherReady. Building a professional learning networks is important for early career teachers; here’s why:
Timely Feedback and Recognition. As teachers a day doesn’t go by where we make sure that our students have the tools and resources to be successful in their work, how to provide meaningful feedback to help them improve their performance, and meaningful ways to recognize student performance. The same holds for Dr. Thomas and other school leaders, clinical educators, and teacher leaders providing these things for their early career teachers.
Identify and Refine Always Actions. Assist new teachers focus on essential skills they must engage in to create a work environment that supports students in achieving their highest potential.
“Limit” Unlimited Content. There is a definite opportunity for new teachers to get overwhelmed by the large amounts of content being shared. It is up to us as school leaders, clinical educators, and teacher leaders to be able to help new teachers sift through content and help them identify what is most important.
When educators and leaders engage in professional learning networks it’s a win-win-win; the school leader wins, the teacher wins, and most importantly, our students win. Know someone who would make a great Mentor to TeacherReady teacher candidates? Have your friend give us a call at the University of West Florida’s TeacherReady (850-898-3949).
Know someone who would be a great teacher? For more information about earning a professional teaching certificate or license, contact TeacherReady at 850-898-3949 or visit or connect with current teacher candidates and alumni on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/teacherreadyprogram.
Become a teacher with the assistance of TeacherReady. TeacherReady offers individuals an opportunity to earn a professional teaching certificate from the State of Florida; it was developed by teachers for teachers and is a member of the NCATE/CAEP accredited Professional Education Unit at the University of West Florida.