Isolation.

“Today, isolation is a choice educators make.” George Couros

I started as a middle school teacher in 1984. 36 years ago. I got my keys, my plan book, a classroom, and the kids. No induction. No professional learning. No books about teaching. No PLC. No PLN. Obviously no Twitter or any other social media platform. Didn’t have a computer. Took attendance on a little slip of paper that I hung outside the door. I had a chalkboard, a movie projector (the clackity clackity kind), and a podium.

Early in my career where isolation was not a choice.

Isolation had commenced and I didn’t even realize it. In fact, something worse happened. My next door neighbor was generally described as the most negative teacher in the building. He couldn’t get to me fast enough to begin to poison my young teacher heart and soul.

Then I found my buddy Dave. Another first year teacher. We clung together, designed work together, grew together, and fended off the negative teachers that wanted to feel better about themselves by reigning us in. Dave and I chose not to be isolated. But it was tough. Our goldfish bowl was very small.

A teacher’s goldfish bowl now can be an ocean. Twitter, for example, provides on-demand, in the moment, professional learning, completely centered on a teacher’s choice of learning. George Couros brought that message home with a resounding bang. Literally to remain isolated now, as a teacher, is an absolute choice to do so.

And the amazing educators in Fife are choosing to not be isolated. Here are a few examples:

Thank you to all dedicated, passionate, always learning and growing educators who choose NOT to be isolated.

Kids deserve it!

Author: Jeff Nelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 36 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 5 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years. jnelson@fifeschools.com twitter.com/jeffnelsonTLI

2 thoughts on “Isolation.”

  1. This is one of the things I am proud of being a teacher in Fife, they let & encourage their teachers to step out of the box/comfort zone and try new things. Honestly it is main reason I make the 30 min to 45 min one way drive to work each day. If any of your readers are interested in talking about what we do in Fife please feel free to reach out to chat.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have really grown so much over the past few years being on Twitter and several teacher Facebook groups. Being able to share with my colleagues from all over has been great for what I can offer kids in the classroom. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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