A: In the last couple of years, my answer to this has expanded a little. My sources for advice are:
- Fellow colleagues
I teach with enthusiastic, friendly people. Depending on the type of situation I am involved in, I ask a couple of different people for advice. I teach with people who have been educators longer than I have lived as well as been at my current school for two decades. These individuals give me a sense of long term trends in education and learning. If the subject is technology related, I speak with other individuals who are comfortable in that arena.
- Twitter colleagues
A year ago, I didn't know what a rich source of advice and information my fellow educators on Twitter could be. I have reached out to a few of them in the past several months that I have been on Twitter and received valuable information and reflection that I couldn't have found at my local school. The willingness of many educators to take part in chats dedicated to a particular educational topic also enhances my learning and provides possible connections with other educators around the world.
- My wife
My wife is not an educator, but she is my confidante and a parent. These two roles provide me with a perspective that I can easily lose sight of. Her outsider viewpoint assists me in the decisions that I make. I reflect better on my choices as a teacher when we discuss how my day in the classroom has been going. It's easy as educators to have our comments, support, and criticism of education and schools become an echo chamber. I greatly value having access to thoughts from outside the education world.
- My mom
I know that this might sound hokey, but my mom is also a teacher. We teach vastly different grades (I'm in 4th, she's in kindergarten). But we share a common language of teaching and learning. She's also been a teacher for over twenty years and I value her experience as reaches the end of her career.