Education can be a daunting and lonely profession. We spend most of the day in a single room doing our best to make a difference in our students’ social, emotional, and academic lives. The limited time that we do have is spent data teaming, copying, lesson planning, devising formative assessments, creating summative assessments, remediating, enriching… remembering to breathe.
We wonder: How can I make an impact? Where do I start? Who can help me?
We struggle to find ways to connect with others who are experiencing the same thoughts, the same feelings… those wanting to find, to experience, to enact new and better ways reach our goals.
During my first nine years teaching high school History, I tried to make a difference within my classroom, so I created my Professional Learning Network (PLN) comprised of World Language, English Language Arts, Communications teachers and a technology specialist.
For the next four years, as I worked to effect positive change throughout my district as a Curriculum and Instructional Technology Coach, I expanded my PLN to Twitter and began to follow the “agents of change” in surrounding districts and states.
As I approached my 14th year, my quest for ways to improve the educational experience of students grew exponentially. After choosing Education, I made the second best decision of my professional life by actively becoming involved in PASCD and ASCD. I presented at conferences; I applied for the Emerging Leaders program; I attended meetings; I volunteered. My PLN came alive before my eyes – I met the “agents of change” I had been following on Twitter and, very quickly, they became great friends in my “real” life.
Ten years ago, the idea of doing “MORE” outside of my classroom would have seemed draining – where would I find the time? But, I found out that the more you give, the more you receive.
I found out that there are amazing educators out there fighting for what is best for our children, leading a revolution to ensure that all children are Healthy, Safe, Supported, Engaged, and Challenged (ASCD’s Whole Child Tenets). I found cutting-edge educational knowledge, ideas, and research shared at meetings and conferences. I found out that my ASCD family was among the first to answer my questions when I needed advice, the first to provide resources when I was lacking, and the first to encourage me on when I needed support.
If you are reading this article, we might have had similar stories; you already know the rewards of membership and involvement in PASCD. PLEASE, share that experience with someone else: Encourage your colleagues to become members. Invite a friend to attend the PASCD annual conference in November with you. Introduce them to others who share their passion for education.
Stand up; take action; be the change; shake the world… GET INVOLVED. And bring a colleague with you. Start by contacting your regional leadership. Reach out to one of the Emerging Leaders (2013 and 2012).
Together, as a unified organization, WE can be the “agents of change” in our state and do what is in the best interest of our students.