Don’t be daunted! Try these best practices for finding and collaborating with fellow educators

PLCs-communitiesEd. note: Innovation In Action is a new monthly column from the International Society of Technology in Education focused on exemplary practices in education.

PLNS-fearlessResearch indicates that nearly 50 percent of educators will leave the field within the first five years of entering a classroom. This is an astounding number that costs the U.S. more than $2 billion annually. Why the high burnout rate? Many cite isolation and lack of support as reasons for exiting the field. Sometimes new teachers are nervous to admit they may be struggling. By helping educators build strong connections to others, both within their buildings and around the world, we can begin to create more stability in the profession and refresh our passion for education.

Teachers are natural collaborators. From the school hallways to what could be called today’s water cooler—social media—teachers love to share and discuss what’s working, what isn’t, and the finer points of why or why not.

Collaboration is very much a process. It’s about ideas and problem solving and some trial and error, with reflection playing a critical role. To support this process, we will unravel the process of building a Professional Learning Network of fellow educators, and how it can remove isolation and improve your professional practice.

Next page: 5 PLN-friendly social media sites to check out