Training is key to quality teaching and continuous professional development is the difference between a teacher who atrophies and fails to develop during a career. Many teachers get great opportunities for their CPD, and feel equipped to deal with education’s modern challenges.
Others battle for the right training but always seem to lose out, or never understand what their real training needs might be.
For both groups, there’s Twitter.
Following the right educators and specialists gives you a timeline packed with opinions, references and links to wider thinking and a constant babbling stream of thoughts, ideas and inspirations – none of them passed down from on high as if on tablets of stone, but delivered by your peers, the same kind of people as in your staffroom, but just as you might be sitting in Richmond, Virginia, USA, they might be sitting in Richmond, London, UK. There’s nowhere else you can get that breadth of experience contributing to the pool of ideas.
It’s a supportive community too – ask your Twitter stream for inspiration on the how best to teach algebra or Mandarin to ten-year-olds and your PD community will come up with the answer. A knowledgeable bunch, only too happy to help, no matter how simplistic the question might be – which make make a change from the tired bunch in the staffroom only interested in who took the last of the coffee and why someone else was appointed Deputy Principal…
There’s a range of education hashtags to use and chats to join to enter Twitter communities you’ve not yet stumbled upon (try these tools too). The ability to cross-fertilise ideas from such a profusion of professional expertise is not something you’ll get anywhere else, it’s motivating and energising to boot.
As a networking tool to allow you to talk to new people and create the opportunities that come with activity, you won’t find a better reward for the investment you put in, whether that be to find, or be, a mentor, to take up the opportunity to partner with classes around the globe, to speak at a conference,m to blog on someone else’s site…
So for those who view Twitter as a trivial medium, something that’s beneath them, think again. It’s only a trivial space if you want it to be. If you want it to be the professional inspiration, support and ideas factory that you need, then just follow the bird.