Networking To Save Your (Teaching) Life General by Joel Wagner - September 23, 2008July 1, 20104 Everybody makes mistakes Everybody has those days Everybody knows what what I’m talkin’ ’bout Everybody gets that way Nobody’s Perfect! I gotta work it! Again and again ’til I get it right Nobody’s Perfect! You live and you learn it! And if I mess it up sometimes, Nobody’s perfect! Oops. I got a little carried away there in my Hannah Montana glam rock! Sorry about that. But it’s true, everyone messes up. Our students do, and so do we! I found that having a small group of teachers nearby really helped me out in the early years. I would go to dinner with some, I would call some up, I would visit some after class. However we stayed in contact, I definitely looked forward to our conversations. Mix and match I like to have teacher friends from all walks of the career path. From new teachers to people who have been teaching a few years, to people who have taught for a few decades, to life-long retired teachers. What do we talk about? I found that even as a second or third year teacher, I could offer suggestions to some of my other friends who were struggling. If nothing else, I could offer a suggestion, meet up a week later, and we could discuss the results in their classroom. Earlier in my career, I would find myself asking a great deal of questions. I still ask questions, but I tend to offer advice more now too. Not all advice is accepted When gathering this circle, we have to remember that there are some people out there who are unwilling to listen, no matter how great the advice is. For this reason, we need to be selective about the people we hang with. Not all advice is useful On the other end of the spectrum, there are certain teachers I wouldn’t dream about asking for advice on anything in my classroom. Those are the same teachers you need to avoid in a networking capacity. Are there some bad teachers who make great friends? Absolutely! We just have to be careful in distinuishing between the two… Joel WagnerJoel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.