This program is genius. They must know me so well to have made this week – which initially seemed to be so much easier than creating a video – about creating a PLC: Professional Learning Community.  How did they know my weakness? I groaned.  I actually cringed.  This was, ironically enough, the hardest and most uncomfortable week for me.

I am not one for social media. I “stalk” people on Facebook but haven’t posted anything in over 10 months.  I don’t like putting myself out there.  I have refused to join LinkedIn time and time again.  I am a complete 100% introvert and happy in my little cocoon.  Well, maybe not ecstatically happy, but comfortable and content.

For a few years now I have used TES – it is a British site for teachers to exchange lesson plans and materials. In the past it was all free – now it has become more like the Teachers Pay Teachers site here in the States, with small fees associated with everything.  I suppose someone smelled a business opportunity.  But even there, I was never brave enough to share my materials.  I always questioned myself, wondering if it was good enough.  Afraid of how I would feel if I uploaded materials to share and no one wanted to use them.  I realized that I have been completely stuck in the fear of the fixed mindset.  I consumed but did not contribute for fear of rejection or not being good enough.

So I stretched this week…and yes I moaned and I complained and I felt uncomfortable – and that was just when creating my profile. Having to share my Twitter account where I have all of 12 followers and where I have tweeted maybe 6 times since I created it made me feel very vulnerable and out of place in these techie communities.  But I also felt a tinge of contentment, at being connected now to so many who do what I do.

Yet I have to say that it also added to my already high anxiety – and the seemingly infinite resources made my head spin. I have such a curious mind, so discovering a site like Edutopia or Edweb is like opening a treasure trove of resources in which I can get lost for hours without ever coming out with something substantial that I will end up using.  But it’s really fun.  Ultimately, even if I come out empty handed, the site has generated ideas and excitement, which is also of value.  But I can get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information to be sifted through and walk away feeling burdened with all the wonderful ideas I need to implement right away.

So that is another reason why I had to practice my deep breathing with this assignment. Four of our oldest boys are now away at College and we have one left, a freshman in High School.  So the house is much quieter, and I am finding that the pace is not as frantic as it used to be:  less noise, less groceries, less playing taxi and less sporting events.  I’m all about simplifying my life at this stage, decluttering, making time for what enriches my life, trying to discover again what I like to do when I’m not mothering or teaching.  I am wary of making another commitment to a network or a group of people that is going to require me to log in every other day and “like” things and write things and contribute materials and comment and answer… It all sounds exhausting.

So I am torn with this assignment, and I feel like I have just been kicked out of the nest – and yet part of me thinks it might be a good thing. I need to be reenergized regarding my career.  I came off of a particularly difficult year, having experienced a new level of burn-out.  I found myself truly questioning my choice of career.  Reading this Growth mindset and seeing the COVA approach has reignited in me a passion to teach the way I believe in… not the way I have to in order to survive my work load.  We all read “Horaces Compromise”.  I don’t want to end up like Horace.  So maybe that’s the point of the networks.  Yes, I learn and I grow and maybe even have something to contribute – but mainly it will keep me from settling, from compromising little by little until I no longer find any joy in my job.  Maybe being around passionate people will help to reignite the passion in me?

So here is my new-found PLC – Professional Learning Community, and may I recommend that you also give them a try?

http://www.edweb.net/

This is a « professional learning and social network » that I am actually pretty excited about. You can create or join communities that cater to your specialization.  For example, I joined three communities:  Tech tools for the classroom; Digital Learning and Leadership (which I thought was spot on for this program) and my favorite “French Teachers Unite”, which has a much more manageable number of members.  Did I mention I was an introvert?  I like small groups.  When I see there are 40 000 members, I feel like a teeny tiny drop of water in the sea.  This site though has so many resources I intend to get lost in it for days…if I had days.  I will start with 10 free minutes here and there.

http://www.classroom20.com/

This is also a site for teachers, self-described as the social network for those interested in  Web 2.0, Social Media, and Participative Technologies in the classroom. “ They boast over 80 000 members from 200 countries – which grabbed me because I love international groups.  This one also has little sub groups, one of which I am very interested in joining called The Learning Revolution Project.  Once my membership is approved (assuming it will be) I will join that and their Global Education community as well.  I would love to connect with French teachers in France and Quebec!

www.edutopia.org

Just Wow. Articles upon articles, each one seeming more interesting than the next… more videos than I can binge watch… simply an incredible array of resources.  They say in the community: Connect, collaborate, and share resources with people who are passionate about improving education.  I suppose that’s me! So maybe I do fit in to these groups.  I look forward to delving into this site in all the free time I forgot to mention I don’t have.  But for this – I will FIND some…make it if I have to.  Too much good information!  My long term goal will be, of course, not just to consume but also to contribute to these fine online communities which can now boast at having me as a member.

2 thoughts on “Creating your own PLC

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