Processing My Learning (Ruth’s SOLS)
One of my favorite parts of my job is I am privileged to a lot of professional development. Often when I travel to conferences, I attend with our district reading coach, Deb Gaby. Over the years, Deb and I have developed a comfortable routine of traveling together. I know she likes some alone time. She knows I am quirky about hotel rooms.
During the day, we go our separate ways. Sometimes we blur past one another between sessions. We touch base through texts and tweets. We absorb as much as we can. I tweet like a crazy person, collecting as many notes as possible. The thinking is quick. The sessions are fast paced. And the conversations with others are always cut short.
At the end of the day Deb and I slow down. Pajamas, lap tops opened, stretched out on our beds. We start talking about bits of our day. We start out slowly, sharing just a sliver. Then some thinking time, then more bits, more listening, more thinking, more bits. The conversation bounces around from bits of the day to stories from our lives to books to laughter and back to bits from the day. Our thinking layers on top of each other. The learning from the day blends together, working its way into our tapestry of understanding, and common themes slowly surface.
Twitter allows me to instantly process my thinking. I engage in digital conversations with others who are on the same lines of thinking as me. People push my thinking, ask questions, and even tease and joke. I am a better educator because of my PLN on Twitter.
But Twitter alone is not enough.
Deb allows me the space and time to think deeply. She shares her thinking with me and lets it evolve. She lets me be myself and accepts my messy thinking, allowing me to change my mind and grow as an educator without judging or pressuring me. I am a better educator, wife, mother, friend, and person because of Deb.
But a colleague alone is not enough.
I’m realizing it takes many layers to become a reflective educator. Instant feedback and slow thinking. People in person and people online. People who push and people who accept. Questioning and answering and more questioning. The best, though, is when people cross the worlds. When Deb tweets with me, when I meet a Twitter friend in person, when a colleague blogs, when an email arrives from someone who commented on a blog post, and the best of all these things collide. I’m thankful to have a handful of people like this in my world. They are the reason I’m the educator I am.