I think we instinctively collect the names of individuals with certain skills that may be helpful to us. Those names most often referenced usually change as the seasons of our lives change. As a new mother, I collected the names of other mothers, pediatricians, and parenting books, magazines, and websites. Anytime, I had a problem I would reference one of those sources, as well as read to educate myself on the latest developments.
Until recently, my PLN consisted of people in my contact list on my iPhone, Facebook pages of colleagues (friends), bloggers, businesses, and organizations, and Pinterest boards of the like. My PLN has now expanded to include Twitter. I am "following" several people and organizations that are beneficial to my professional growth. I specifically searched out accounts that related to library media and technology.
In my opinion, our "networks" should include not only individuals that help us grow professionally, but also individuals who inspire our passions. Because when we grow our passions, it enhances who we are, and we are better able to grow as professionals.
So do yourself a favor and go take that cooking or painting class that you've always wanted to take! You'll be inspired and probably make a connection with someone that you can add to your PLN!
My professional development plan doesn't look anything like the example presented on Sakai. I could make a plan that adhered strictly to those guidelines, but I wouldn't benefit very much from it because I am not at that point in my career. I am not a classroom teacher, nor do I plan on being one in the next 2 years. By the time I was able to use a plan that looked like the one presented, changes in education will have taken place along with advances in technology. My PDP would be obsolete.
I do have a plan though; a more practical and realistic plan that I can actually apply to growing professionally. During the next year, I plan to substitute teach in a variety of grades so I can discover which grade level I am truly suited for. Currently, I only have experience with 3rd grade and 5th grade. I also plan to continue taking graduate courses. Being involved with PTO is also part of my plan. Hopefully, I will gain knowledge that I can apply to my career by viewing teaching from a different perspective. So far, I only have the perspective of student and teacher. Actively participating in PTO will give me the opportunity to gain perspective as a parent and also learn what other parents' perspectives are. What it is they expect from their child's teacher and how I can meet some of those expectations?
Staying connected through social media is also part of the plan. Most importantly, I plan to contribute more through blogging and Twitter. EDM510 has given me a good foundation to build on.
Other than that, I'm going to leave my options open. There are so many areas in which to make a contribution in education. Areas that I had not previously considered. Some of those possibilities include becoming a legislative advocate for policies that I believe will make a positive difference. The opportunities abound! Where will they take me?