Friday, February 19, 2016

Rejuvenation Fridays: Teachers Connecting Online

by Erika Dyk 

Story 1: Math Blogs

On March 31, 2015, NPR featured an article entitled "Live from Small Town America: Teachers who Blog to Stay in Touch." Reading the article, I learned about several teachers who blog, but Sarah Hagan stood out:
Hagan's own love of teaching was born in part from reading a math teacher's blog when she herself was in high school. It was called Math Teacher Mambo by Shireen Dadmehr."I just became amazed," Hagan recalls. "I thought, 'This is the way I want to teach.' For the rest of high school and college I read all the teacher blogs I could get my hands on."
From Sarah's blog Math=Love, I discovered this world of math blogs. Math teachers using writing to share their teaching practice. Sarah is big into using Interactive Notebooks in her math classroom and shares her resources freely with her online colleagues and visitors. I felt inspired and encouraged to see inside the math content world.

At the National Writing Project Conference

Story 2: Teacher 2 Teacher

At the National Writing Project Conference in November, my friend and I stopped by the booth that invited us to share our teaching story: #WHYITEACH. That day I wrote, "Because I was taught the love of learning and I am compelled to share, to welcome others to the joy" and shared it on the board.

The next day, at the National Council of Teachers of English conference, a similar booth was set up. My friend and I eventually wrote another one. This time, I wrote the same idea, but slightly revised to use the framework of gifts.

At the National Council of Teachers of English conference

The #WHYITEACH story sharing was facilitated by Teacher 2 Teacher. On their website, they note
"Born from the belief that no one knows teaching like teachers, Teacher2Teacher is a growing community where you can connect to share resources, learn from one another, and solve the big problems that no one can solve alone. Join us and help shape the conversation."
They invite you to join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and their website.

Reflecting back on those two conference moments where I had limited space to convey why I teach, I am grateful for that invitation. Simply putting my #WHYITEACH stories on the wall with other teachers reminded me not only why I teach, but that I am not alone in my love for teaching.

It is important to remember that we are not alone. And it is important to remember why we teach.

So, on this Friday, I invite you to also answer that question, "Why do I teach?"  

May your time of purposeful reflection help to refresh your teaching soul.

Have a wonderful weekend.