A sense of belonging: my community engagement

Photo by Park Troopers on Unsplash

…within this process of incessant learning lies the secret of living the adventure called life, to its fullest. The more you learn, the more you blossom.

Pulki Sharma, The speaking tree. Times of India

From lurking to connecting

When I started my COETAIL journey, I realized that I was a lurker. I was following some people, magazines, organizations related to IB education, and school librarianship on Twitter but I was not actively sharing and discussing. Then, as I was going on with my curses, I started to discover other #coetailers, librarians passionated about technology, PYP educators, technology integrators, technology coaches, other school librarians in Southeast Asia….and my PLN started to grow.

As I was thinking about this post, I was reflecting on these ideas:

  • Purpose
  • Community
  • Keep updated
  • Different perspectives
  • Becoming unique

I have very clear that I wanted to develop a PLN to share my ideas, experience, and challenges with people that are on the same boat, or similar. Having a purpose was one of the first goals of being actively involved in Twitter. 

Have you ever felt that you’re working in isolation? Sometimes, I felt like that. I’m part of some groups of librarians on Facebook, they are sharing many resources or their practices. I have learned a lot from them, but I had a feeling that something was missing.

Twitter brings us the opportunity to find social-emotional support as educators, therefore, the feeling of belonging (to a community). People with similar interest sharing practices, talking about pedagogy, sharing challenges and failures. 

Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

Being informed and keep updated are some of our challenges but on Twitter, I found and keep on finding blogs from different educators that are teaching me and make me wonder about my practices.

The possibility of finding a different perspective is one of the biggest take-aways. Every school, every country is different so we learn, and built our knowledge from a variety of practices. Understanding the difference, we can embrace with better tools our challenges. 

Being part of chats, give you the chance to exchange your thoughts about different topics. Many conversations are going on from science to arts, to IBO programs, to school librarianships, and subject specifics. It’s a matter of finding the right for you, in my opinion, that the wonder of Twitter. It makes us see our uniqueness as educators.

Developing my community on Twitter

As a school librarian working with the IBO programs, every day is a new challenge. We need to be updated from different perspectives: pedagogy, school librarianship, librarianship, technology in education, the latest publications, reading, etc. I have created a collection on Wakelet with the trend of my interactions.

Discover the purpose of the chats, begin to share, and exchange ideas that give me a sense of purpose and belonging. I’m developing a network connected with people from different parts of the world. 

I started to participate in the following chats:

#PYPchat

#CrazyPLN

#Flipgrid

#GoogleEduchat

#PYPConnectED

I’m covering my PYP and tech interests with these chats, but I’m still looking for a school librarian chat for international schools. I’m following an interesting podcast: “School librarians united’, and hoping to find more like this one. 

Meeting Coetailers

Photo by Liliana Bandini

Something that we should have done before! An online meeting of cohort 11. It was a short but engaging session because we could share our challenges during Covid-19 and the actions taken. A conclusion was that we should have done more Zoom meetings before. I will suggest Coetail the idea of promoting a meeting per course for their students. It enriches our learning and gives you the feeling of community. You can watch it here.

Advocacy

I’m working for a while in my school, and I believe that I should share what I learn with my community. It encourages me to develop advocacy with my colleagues’ librarians and teachers in Mumbai. I’m part of a group of librarians #lifebrarians, and I’m encouraging them to be active on Twitter. Also in my school, we have a WhatsApp group with PYP teachers, and I also encourage them to be part of Twitter. You can see here some messages.  Some of them are exploring it. That makes me feel that I’m not only learning but I’m helping others to extend their ways to learn and begin their PLN.

In the beginning, we were only 2 (Head of Primary Division & PYP Coordinator and me) on Twitter. Now, from 13 Homeroom teachers, we have 8 teachers that started a new journey on Twitter!

Last but not least

I was a lurker when I started my Coetail journey 14 months back. But not anymore. Thanks to the PLN that I’m developing, I’m finding answers to many questions, sharing, and learning on chats with colleagues around the globe. It develops my awareness and responsibility for my professional learning. It’is in my hands!

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