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Dear Teacher,

When putting our best teacher foot forward, we will inevitably hit snags, set backs, or difficulties of some kind. At times, those set backs are small bumps in the road. And sometimes the problems we run into are deep, serious, and abiding. Whatever the case may be, all of us need support. But lots of teachers leave the profession because they did not get the support they needed, and they did not get the chance to develop the resilience needed to remain in the classroom.

When it comes to the support we all need, some teachers will wait for it to come to them. Others are more proactive, and they seek it out. Most of those go-getters start at their campuses, looking for a teacher-friend who will help them overcome their roadblocks. And if they can’t find those friendly colleagues at their place of work, they will extend their search for like-hearted educators through social media.

I am fortunate to work alongside great people who help me when I need perspective and challenge me when I may be stuck in a rut. In addition to my wonderful colleagues at my brick and mortar location, I also have made amazing connections through Twitter, Facebook, and Voxer. I truly believe I am living in a great set of circumstances as a teacher. And my situation is NOT the norm for many teachers out there, but I have faith that there is another teacher, or group of teachers, out there who are ready to connect and support teachers in need.

In this episode of DEAR TEACHER DON’T GIVE UP!, you may find a space that will help you answer this question: “Where are my peeps?”

Michael J CrawfordSometime ago, while interacting with teachers on Twitter, Michael J. Crawford suggested that I would be able to find the answers I was looking for on an app he and his team were building. When he explained that it was being designed with tons of teacher input to be a space where teachers could connect, I immediately understood the potential.

Shortly after that interaction, he and I set up a time to talk, and the link to the audio above is our conversation. As a teacher who is continually growing his professional learning network (PLN) through various apps (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, and Voxer), I gravitated toward the concept of a Social Learning Network. Instead of individual teachers “hacking” social media to network with colleagues around the world, Michael and his team are designing a space that fits that purpose, and it’s called Edspace.

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If you’re engaged on what is informally known as “EduTwitter,” then you know the power that comes with meeting like-minded educators on that platform. And, even though it is a great place to meet and interact, there are a couple of drawbacks. One time, when I was participating in a chat, an educator with an opposing perspective dropped in to troll the chat, which temporarily derailed a few people in that “space”. Also, there are people who are posting saccharine platitudes for likes and retweets, but when you want to engage with the ideas at a deeper level, they don’t have anything of substance to add to the conversation.

Michael claims that Edspace will strip all of that vanity and toxicity, leaving just teachers who care and are looking to connect around problems they are facing, ideas they want to further develop, or getting feedback on a talk they may give in the near future. It’s simply a place where teachers come together to work out the ideas that matter to them.

If you’re interested in learning more about Edspace and what their platform can offer you, check out the following links:

To hear stories of educators who almost walked away from the classroom for good, subscribe to the Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up! podcast.

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If you are currently working in education and have ever thought about leaving, or right now, you’re a classroom teacher looking for the nearest exit, I want to hear your story. Please, find me at…

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