From the article Meet Your New PD Tool in Scholastic Administrator magazine:
"I really think anybody who doesn't spend a little time building a personal network is doing themselves and their school a disservice. If we're not modeling this stuff for our teachers and students, then I don't think we're doing our jobs." (p. 31, quoting Patrick Larkin, @bhsprincipal)
I am part of a bigger educational community through twitter, plurk, and facebook. Many times teachers have told me that they don’t have time for social networking like that or they look down on me as if I networking means that I am not doing my job. In fact the opposite may be true. Since I am part of a bigger educational community, I am able to find new ideas more easily or can get help at the tip of my fingers instead of waiting for help to come to me as others may have to do. This actually gives me more time and causes less stress. I am able to bounce ideas off of others and opinions when I need them so that I can do things more efficiently. To me, it is comparable to driving the car to a destination vs. walking there. I can end up at the same place but one is quicker than the other. Sure, there is a danger of getting sidetracked and spending too much time on these sites but it is just like getting into a car and taking the scenic route to your destination instead of the direct route. It is a decision that I can make.
It is shame when teachers use excuses not to build their own networks. Too many times they say they can’t or they don’t have the time when they just don’t want to. They are afraid to try something new. Until they give it a try, they won’t see the value in it. I believe that when I try something new, I have to use it regularly for at least 2 weeks in order to make an honest decision about it.
How do you get others to build their professional learning network? Please share.