For many educators the professional experience can be a paradoxically lonely one. Teaching is all about communication and relationships, they spend most of their time with large groups of people, yet their position is unique and in many ways isolating. They spend class time as an ‘other’ in a large group of peers, conceptually if not physically alone, and when the classes leave and the work of planning and assessment begins they are often physically alone as well.
The personal implications of this are obvious but there are professional implications as well. In an isolated situation is is hard to develop and progress in what you are doing, as the impetus to do so must come entirely from within, and the models and ideas for next steps must be created from nothing or very deliberately sought out. Why else are so many teachers eagerly communicating through platforms such as twitter, blogs and other social media? Developing on your own is hard, and truly moving forward often requires the ideas, encouragement and challenge of others.
Photo credit: Naparazzi