Day 22: The Conversation You Didn’t Know Changed Me

What does your PLN look like and what does that do for your teaching?

My PLN looks like this


Two amazing teachers (both in different time zones from each other and from me) posing a question on twitter about the importance of decorating (or not) the classroom. I jump in with my sincere question about why, and the resulting conversation had me thinking for weeks.

What I realized from all that mulling was that my room was actually an outward expression of control. My control. Teacher control. Huh.

Although each year I try to find more and more ways to turn my classroom over to my students and be the “meddler in the middle” or the “guide on the side” or just a learner in the back of the room, I hadn’t really let my students do much to contribute to the physical space. Instead, I plastered myself, my teaching philosophies, my quotes, my books, my “dead words” and my “power words,” my organizational strategies, my plants, my pictures, and my preferred colors all over the room. I did this because it made me feel just a little less nervous on that first day of school. A little more “in control” of what was going to happen…even though my years of teaching told me that “control” really isn’t the end goal here. Learning is. And as I mentioned in this previous post learning is “an iteration of trying and failing, reflecting and risking, working, observing, and persevering.”

My classroom was supposed to be a shared space. Our space. And my PLN helped me realized that.

This year, I literally had to share my space with another teacher, so I cleared everything down to half of what it was so she could move in as much as she wanted to. I increasingly use more and more of those wondrous wall-sized post-it notes, and now I leave them up for weeks with my students’ ideas plastered all over them.

I want to have my students do a creative project with the books that we read and I want to print out their works for my reading corner. I started a classroom Instagram account, and I want to surprise them at Christmas by printing out pictures from our year and posting them around the room.

And if my classroom is ever wholly “mine” again, I will leave the spaces blank for us to fill. Because my students should see themselves reflected around this room. They should be able to recognize this room as their own and feel pride for their role in how it evolves and changes throughout the year.

What does my PLN look like?

It looks like caring and learning together despite distance, time zone, and content specialty. It looks like that iterative, messy, process that I mentioned earlier. You know, true learning.

I have a million more ways to define and share about my PLN, but I may wait to elaborate on those during the upcoming Connected Educator month. I hope you’ll join me then!

Please share how YOUR PLN has made an impact on your teaching. Can’t wait to hear from you!

5 thoughts on “Day 22: The Conversation You Didn’t Know Changed Me

  1. Loved reading this and will share it widely. It’s amazing how a question can change into a conversation that can change your practice. Thanks for being part of our blog challenge. 🙂 Looking forward to reading more.

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