This summer I was able to attend my first BCCE thanks in part to ChemEdX. I spent the week learning about the field of chemistry education, being in awe of Notre Dame’s campus and most importantly, geeking out with some of the most amazing chemistry teachers you will ever meet. I had the opportunity to meet many people I engage with online as well as add new people to my professional circle. Being around all of these inspiring educators made me realize that I have spent the last 3 years on an island.
I love the interactions I have with teachers around the country through ChemEdX, Twitter and my blog. I have learned so much this way. Nothing online compares to hashing out the issues of our profession face to face. I am lucky to teach in a large enough school with other chemistry teachers to bounce ideas off of. I used to teach in a small school though where I was the only one. The only reason I didn’t feel isolated at that time was because I had a local community of teachers using Modeling Instruction who met regularly to discuss what was happening in their classrooms. Unfortunately, as the funding fell away for this project, so did the community.
I left BCCE feeling both isolated and invigorated. I didn’t realize how much I missed having a group of educators from different schools to collaborate with until I found it again. I also realized that I don’t have to live on an island. I have a local ACS chapter that I have neglected and a to-do note to renew my AACT membership sitting on my desk. I learned from the brave founders of STEMteachersMassBay, when in doubt, start your own local professional community!
My goal this year is to expand my local professional circle beyond the walls of my school.
How do you connect with other teachers in your area?