Recently Shelly Terrell presented a series of posts at her blog called 30 Goals. The list of ideas and ways to reflect on your teaching, blogging, and role in your PLN was very inspiring, and I will have to continue to check back to these posts to remind myself to stay active and focused. I suppose my last post regarding my rather dismal blog activity could be a response to the 30th goal: "What are you putting off." Or the 27th: "Stay focused." But what I wanted to discuss today was her tenth goal: "Make a connection."
Late last year, I learned what a PLN was and how incredibly inspiring, helpful, and providing it can be, but I hadn't really established a strong connection. I had only been a silent observer. Looking through my RSS feeds at all the new blogs and adding new people to my Twitter following list daily. And until recently this had been enough. Frankly the content has been overwhelming, difficult if not impossible to process it all. I suppose I have progressed through the third stage of PLN adoption (see Darren Elliot's post Death by PLN).
So I wanted to contribute more regularly, through this blog, as well as commenting, and hopefully a guest blog appearance sometime in the future, and I wanted to share one recent experience that only further encouraged this sentiment. I am a member of a couple of Facebook groups, and I feel like some of us feel that Facebook is for your casual, friendly banter not your serious professional development. This is a shame because there are several groups that I am a member that have helped me immensely. Kalinago English, and Chuck and Curtis, especially. Check them out!
I recently posted a comment on Chuck and Curtis' discussion about how inexperienced teachers can become expert teachers. I recommended developing your PLN as it has definitely helped me improve as a teacher. They asked me to write a little more about it. So I wrote a note with a few quick steps and links to introduce how I developed my PLN. Chuck liked what I wrote, and suggested contributing to the journal they plan to develop in the near future. I found it such a motivating e-mail. I have gotten the mass e-mails from my MA-TESOL linking call for papers, but it was really exciting to have someone contact me directly. Which reminds me how important making a personal compliment to your students can be, as well as those who comment on your blog. Chuck has that innate ability, that I have witnessed on their group page, I feel he must be an excellent educator. I have also noticed this necessary skill in those on my blogroll and it is one that I hope to promote in my activities in the blogosphere.