Last year in February, my district had a Teaching & Learning conference during one of our in-service days. It was a great event with sessions led by teachers as well sessions led by guest presenters. One of the sessions I attended was led by guest presenter, Jimmy Casas. In his session, Jimmy talked about teacher leadership, building community and culture, and so many other inspiring things. A few days after the conference, I was chatting with one of my coworkers, Steve Brown, who had been in Jimmy’s session as well, and we were both reflecting on it and talking about how all the things Jimmy had said really left an impact on us. He had really inspired us. So, we wanted to do something with this inspiration.
We decided what we wanted to do was a little something to help strengthen the climate and culture in our school. Life at work gets so busy, teachers can go days/weeks/months without seeing each other. And, everyone’s schedules are different, planning times are not the same, there just aren’t enough opportunities for all of us to see each other consistently. We wanted to find a way to help this. Just an extra way to supplement how and when we can all connect. We decided to turn to our friend technology, and start a Google+ community for our school. This wouldn’t be the only way to communicate of course, because we also treasure opportunities for face-to-face interactions. Just an extra way so anyone can access it anytime from their phone, computer, tablet, wherever. We wanted this to be a place to share aspects about our lives that people may never hear about otherwise. Our new online community would include every staff member in our school and we decided to name it: These are the Days of Our Shepard Lives.
We did a short presentation to announce our new online community at one of our staff meetings. Here is some of the info we shared during our presentation:
Why Are We Doing This:
- Connections — Learning things about each other
- Community — Where everyone knows your name, new staff & veteran staff
- Culture — Everyone is included
- Family — We are family here
- Changes — Keeping it together
- Acknowledgement — Your way of being recognized in your terms
Ideas For What To Share:
- Personal accomplishments (marathon, house projects, new pet, national boards, kids graduation…things that not everyone knows about, house repair help referrals/assistance/tips)
- Things you’ve done in class that worked, not worked, want to learn more about
- Outside of school events/conferences you hear about that maybe others don’t
- Anything you want basically!
Our online community is now an extra little way for us to stay connected. It’s a place where everybody knows your name. :)
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Lara Mercer Photography.