Sometimes being the only music teacher or maybe one of two in a single school can get very lonely. I have been trying to figure out ways to stay in touch with other active music teachers and found a few ways. I have been able to attend a music education online conference, interact with other teachers through forums, and most excitingly get new ideas to try in my classroom. How? By using the internet!
I strongly encourage making a twitter account. I realize some people may feel that they don’t want to know when someone is eating with friends, or bought a pair shoes, etc….etc… BUT, you can also find out about music education related subjects. I use my facebook account for friends and family, and my twitter mostly for music education. I did a search for music education on Tweet Deck and it shows me every time someone mentions music education. From there I have been able to ‘follow’ people who are really tweeting about subjects I care about. I think this is a good start in getting connected.
Secondly, Music PLN is a great networking sight strictly for US! where you can ask questions, answer questions, and find out what other teachers are doing in their classroom. It is great for new ideas. I often go through forums just to find something I can try in my classroom. After all, we should be life long learners, right? This site is already set up with all the basics that a music teacher needs to stay connected. So, if you feel like Twitter is not right for you maybe this would be a better answer.
Lastly, find some blogs and podcasts, that are interesting to you. Music PLN has a links page that has everything from Elementary music to College Music Education blogs and a few podcasts. I have a few favorites that I keep bookmarked and go to just to read how someone else is doing (it can be very encouraging). I will post a few on the right side of my blog.
Of course, keeping up with all of this can be time consuming and we already have very busy lives, but that is the beauty of it all. We don’t have to sign on every day, or even once a week, but we should all know that it is out there and use it to our benefit when it is needed. Go ahead! Get connected!