Networking for Busy Educators
Published on Nov 14, 2019 by Taylor Ruxenbury
How to reach out when you don't have the time or budget for traditional networking
Networking is an important part of any profession, but especially for educators. Problem is, many teachers don't have the time or resources to devote to networking.
Here are some tips for making connections and building relationships with colleagues even with a busy schedule and tight budget:
Resources and Lesson Plans
You probably already search the internet for ideas for lesson plans and resources for your class. Use this tactic as a networking opportunity. Join an established online community, like a LinkedIn group, or start a Facebook group for grade-level teachers in your district. Ask for – and share – advice on new sources for ideas or places to find lesson plans online.
Conferences and Events
Let's be honest: Most school districts do not set aside enough time off or an adequate budget for teachers to attend conferences. But on the off chance that you're able to go, these conferences are obviously a great networking resource. Resist the urge to check your phone or email between sessions.
Strike up a conversation with another attendee, exchange your contact information, and engage in the social media discussions about the conference. In fact, following an event's hashtag on social media and joining in on the discourse is some networking you can do even without attending the conference.
Trends and Continuing Education
Every educator knows that learning is never done. You work hard to stay up to date with new technology, changing curriculum, and improved teaching methods. Why not make this a networking opportunity? Even though some continuing education is often required for licensure, you can encourage other teachers to join you for webinars, take online courses alongside your colleagues, and reach out to online communities for additional CE opportunities. Full Sail offers regular professional development sessions online and at our campus that can provide both enrichment and networking opportunities.
Have a question about how a new piece of technology can be incorporated in your classroom? Go outside of your area of study and reach out to school technologists, universities, or other schools using the same tech already.
As a teacher, you may go an entire day without the chance to sit down and talk with another adult, much less a professional in your field. Everyone needs a support system, and in a role that can sometimes isolate you from your peers, you may have to go out of your way to build one.
Do you have a fellow educator to come to for advice? A former mentor or professor who understands? Because of the nature of this career, you may have to put in more effort to build a system of support. But in the end, it's worth being in close touch with a fellow professional you can trust.