It's funny what comes down the pike when you are forced into situations to make yourself more relevant. I'm reflecting on this idea after reading Tony Sinasis' recent blog post about how his PLN saved his career -- It's a great post, please read it! I identified with his notion of things sort of settling in to a situation where you do the same things every day. Where you are stuck in routines and not growing. I've had thoughts recently that I can't bear to give another IQ test, even though I probably have 150 ahead of me this year, with questionable value to student learning on top of it. I've been caught up with the politics of fiscal conservatism vs. advocating for what kids need. I had been in a long rut. The fact is though, I desperately don't want to be in one.
Here's the thing, however... Twitter refreshed my career too! I'm back to being excited to learning again, and I have my wife @bekcikelly and @thomascmurray to thank for that. It was they who introduced me to Twitter, despite many initial reservations. Because of their encouragement and my change of mindset, I can now get online everyday and talk freely and openly about being a school psychologist, and what a school psychologist should be doing --working every day to help students learn, both academically and emotionally. Or, I can have grander conversations about being an educator, and what that means in a 21st century world. In addition, I can protest the grounding of education from the standardized test movement. Even better, I can advocate for increased mental health services in schools and increased social/emotional learning. Honestly, I feel like I have a voice again!
Twitter has also helped me become less isolated. Being a school psychologist can be an isolating position at times. I have three schools, and although I work at it all the time, I'm often not fully integrated into any one of them. Despite that fact that I get along very well with the staff there, and have gotten to know students and parents well, I still feel at times like a psychological gypsy, so to speak. If I want to have professional conversations, they come and go, either in the hallway, or through professional meetings that are set up to talk about such things. Those are good avenues, but are just not strong enough, and not completely what I'm looking for intellectually. My PLN however, has become a 24/7 go to for professional development and ongoing exciting conversations in the world of education! The resources I have come across, have been game-changers, and the collaborations I've developed with people with like minded excitement and interests have been a career changers as well. Twitter really makes me feel like I'm back in the game, doing what I love to do. I'm incredibly appreciative of that! So thank you, everyone in my PLN, like Tony said, you may have saved my career too!