I followed my husband into our sweet corn patch for the first time taking advice about which ears to pick. There is something quite beautiful about the emerald green leaves, something magical about the wind’s song as it travels through row after row. Kneeling to pick an ear, I noticed a difference in stalks. One corn stalk had claws-anchors from the stalk to the ground while the other stock did not. I inquired. My husband-knowing I was not raised on a farm-simplified his response explaining-the brace roots are the corn stalk’s support. When the wind brings a stalk to the ground the plant uses the support to stand again. Of course, those of us who have lived in a rural community have seen the damage wind can do to a crop-sometimes the crop recovers, sometimes it does not. But I never realized the plant had a system in place to support, a sustaining support. I did not realize the plant had a mechanism to deploy its support when needed. With Connected Educators Month beginning in October, I contemplated the importance of a PLN as a support, a sustaining support.
As we grow professionally, it seems the tumultuous winds of resistance work to push innovation to the ground. For survival, the difference makers and envelope pushers and system challengers and provocative thinkers must connect with a supportive professional learning network. There must be a mechanism in place to deploy support when needed. The wind will work to prevent growth and destroy progress, but a PLN can serve as an awesome “brace root”. Just as one can be supported, one can serve as a supporter. It is hard to understand the powerful connection that springs from social media stalk. It is hard to fathom real relationships can be fostered within the confines of 140 characters. But everyone who has been a brace root, everyone who has needed a brace root understands the strength in that very connection.
The Power of a PLN
Just One Tweet-a collection of educators sharing their special Twitter story
Vizify-a collection of my tweets
33 Tips from Edu We Admire-a collection of Twitter stories including my own