“Find your person.” I say this phrase to every preservice teacher I work with. In a single day, teachers feel the whole gamut of emotions: joy, lost, inspired, frustrated, energized, discouraged, supported, confused, just to name a few. We all need someone to ride the roller coaster with us – to be a calming and centering, yet inspiring and motivating presence in our professional lives.
In last week’s #IMMOOC chat, @patrickmlarkin discussed the importance of being able to share one’s experiences. “It can be a lonely existence sometimes…you need to have other people you can reach out to…the access through the technology, for me, has been a game changer.” Twitter takes finding your person to a whole new level. Instead of scouring my school building for an open-minded, passionate, all-about-the-kids educator, I have thousands of those seemingly scarce individuals placed on my lap every time I open my computer. I found “my people.” That’s life-changing.
What I appreciate the most about “my people” is that I don’t actually agree with everything they say. We are not, in fact, like-minded, but we do share similar feelings when it comes to growth and innovation. We have like-mindsets. The #IMMOOC PLF has forced me to stretch my thinking. I appreciate the varying perspectives, the different ideas, and, most importantly, that all of “my people” want to grow and improve to be the best teachers and humans they can be.
I joined Twitter in April, as a requirement for an Open Education grant I was writing. I spend most of the first five months consuming – reading, retweeting, and messaging my favorite articles to “my person”. This #IMMOOC experience changed me. As @ccormier_edu so beautifully articulates in her Motivating Mindsets post, “Rather than my old consuming pattern of reading and implementing, finding and trying, I am inspired and motivated to design, create, and contribute to the discussion.” I want to give back what “my people” gave to me. No longer will I advise preservice teachers to, “find your person” – they can do way better than that…