Where does one look for resources for teaching? My recommendation is to have a Personal Learning Network, PLN. Personal is the key! Creating a network that fits your needs. My PLN includes Twitter, Facebook, Diigo groups, eSchool News, Pinterest, PSEA Current News in Special Education, Reading Rockets, Teacher Pay Teachers, Educational Research Newsletter, Brenda Powers/Choice Literacy, Stenhouse Newslinks, LD OnLine, ReadWorks, and a few more. It is a bit overwhelming, but I pick, choose and read whenever there is a moment while waiting for appointments and so on. Mind/Shift: How We Will Learn blog is my favorite. Articles on new trends and research are daily included. I love learning about new technology that is available to help students who are struggling and about neuroscience research on how the brain works. Previously I had subscribed to many educational sites with Google Reader, but found the turnover rate too fast to read.
Who should one look to for support and research for new ideas? In my opinion it might be best to look in your educational community in which you teach. Administrators should be supplying support and research based on the path of the district/system in which ones teaches. However, that probably is not going to be enough to satisfy a growing and driven mind. Educators in your local community might give one insight into what is going on in neighboring schools. For me, taking classes and self-exploration through my PLN provide me with my best support and latest research for trends and developments in the field of special and regular education.
For me, I do face many challenges as I try to incorporate new ideas and research with my students. Being a learning support and intervention teacher that implements research-based scripted programs designed to increase performance in reading or math stifles my creativity. Having little technology in my classroom is bothersome…Tech Stone Age. However, I am hopeful that at some point I can be involved with the Hybrid Learning model that might begin this upcoming year. Right now I feel like a resource person that shares information that I have learned from my personal searches and classes. Another challenge is “time”…need I say more. A challenge that I encounter is lack of training by colleagues and unwillingness to step outside the box to try innovative ways to teach due to anticipated failure to produce positive results in learning. My positive attitude never lets me give up. For anyone else in my shoes, keep the faith. Someone will hear you sometime. New ideas will become great ideas in time.