Despite a decade of experience in the classroom, I still consider myself a new teacher in a lot of ways. First and foremost, I am a lifelong learner who tries to keep life interesting and relevant in the classroom. I don’t want to keep doing the same old things in the same old way just because that’s the way I’ve always done it.
I try to start each year with what worked from the previous year and change-up what didn’t work as well. Everything is up for grabs. I review policies, processes, procedures and lesson plans. I’m always on the search for ways to make my life at school and home more efficient and productive.
Of course I ask the teachers I know in real life about their classrooms and my on site teacher friends are a great resource for ideas especially when helping my tougher behavior kids. They are a living history of the previous year and they have experience with each family. Asking previous teachers for ideas has been beyond helpful.
But what about learning about new things that no one else in your area is doing? Like student blogging or integrating technology into the classroom? What about ideas for lessons you’ve never done before? Where do you go to find ideas?
A few years ago I joined Twitter and started dropping in on Wednesday evenings New Teacher chat and started following teachers from around the country. What I’ve discovered is that generous, smart, efficient, teacher leaders live all over the country and willingly share their ideas (for free!) online through their blogs, podcasts and tweets. I feel like I’ve discovered a hidden treasure!
Not only do I get new ideas from these resources, I’ve been able to share my ideas and lo and behold, the more ideas I share, the more ideas come to me. Creativity and generosity begets creativity and generosity!
So, where do you get your brilliant teachery ideas? How do you keep your teaching fresh and creative? Who is in your professional learning community? What new resources can you share here?