Isn’t it crazy how the initial enthusiasm we feel for returning to the classroom each fall can be drained away before the students even enter the room? Pre-planning week can be extremely stressful and overwhelming, and the effects of a summer’s worth of relaxation don’t always seem to have the huge impact we’d hoped for.

This is a phenomenon that was discussed a lot in the Awakened Summer Book Club. We just wrapped up the first online book club for Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching and the third online Bible study for the Awakened Devotional. Over the course of the last two years, over 2,000 teachers have signed up for the studies and participated in some way. It’s been an incredible experience, and now we’re all wondering…what do we do for this fall?

I want to try something different.

It’s very difficult for many teachers to keep up with a book study during the school year. And the teachers who have already completed the study need some kind of ongoing reinforcement throughout the school year to help them remember and apply the things they’ve learned. Reading and commenting on another blog is just one more thing to check off the to-do list. But Facebook? Well, that’s a place that many of us are already visiting on a regular if not daily basis and enjoy posting to informally.

So this time around, let’s try it this way: a closed Facebook group called Encouraging Teachers.

The idea is to have a casual place for educators to inspire and encourage one another throughout the school year. Everyone will have the opportunity to share images, videos, links, questions, personal reflections, and success stories. Once a week, I’ll also be posting reflection questions from Awakened to support those of you who are reading or have read the book and would like an online group to help you practice the principles of a positive mindset in the classroom.

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You can click here to join the group, and once you’re in, you can add your friends, as well. I will manually approve all members to keep the spammers out. What you post in the group will NOT be visible to anyone outside of the group.

If you already follow The Cornerstone For Teachers Facebook page, there are two main ways the group will be different. Firstly, only I can post stuff on the page, but with the Encouraging Teachers group, everyone can post and read one another’s statuses easily. There’s more of a community feel because everyone’s status updates are weighted equally in the group, and it’s not just me posting things and you all commenting on them. (Bonus: since it’s a private group, there won’t be any snarky teacher-bashing comments from outsiders.) Secondly, on the Facebook page, I share a lot more than just inspirational stuff: there are also things related to education reform/the anti-testing movement, teacher’s rights, and a quite a few sarcastic eCards and jokes. The Encouraging Teachers group won’t include any of that, and will solely be a place for sharing positivity.

I want the group to be a place you can visit when you want to be inspired, hear good things about our profession, and connect with other positive-minded educators. You can tell us about things that are working well in your classroom, ask for helpful advice about the things that aren’t working well, and share any teaching-related thoughts, photos, articles, etc. that you think would be encouraging to other educators. See you in the group!

Discussion

0 Comments

  1. Sara

    What a great idea! Thx! I clicked on the sight and went to your new sight. How do I know if I am approved?

    • Angela Watson

      Hi, Sara! When you log into Facebook, you’ll get a notification there when the approval has been sent. I just went through and approved everyone tonight so you should be in. Thanks for joining us!

  2. Jazmin. M

    Hi Ms. Watson! I am a student at Grand Valley State University and I am wondering if I could join the group? I am not YET a teacher but I am studying to be one. I have about 2 (1/2) more years to go and after I graduate I will be a teacher in the Detroit Public School district (where I went to school).

  3. Jazmin. M

    Excuse me, Mrs. Watson! Oh, and I LOVE your blog. It’s very helpful and inspiring.

    • Angela Watson

      Of course, Jazmin! We would *love* to have pre-service teachers in the group!

      • Jazmin. M

        Thank you so much!!!

  4. Tina

    Tanks for this Angela I am need of this as the years go by it gets harder to stay positive!

    • Angela Watson

      You’re so welcome, Tina! Thank you for joining us!

  5. Rebecca

    Yay! I was hoping for some kind of extension from the Awakened blog. I liked it so much I was bummed that there wasn’t access to a positive group during the school year. This fits the bill perfectly.

    • Angela Watson

      Oh, great, Rebecca! Yes, I’m hoping this group will fill that need without the formal structure of the online book study. I’m glad you’ll be joining us!

  6. Cheryl McJunkins

    Love this site. I plan to make use of it often. Thanks for all you do.

  7. Sherri

    Thanks for the new site!!!! I’m ready for teaching year #13, and an encouraging place to visit 🙂

  8. Mary

    Hi Angela!! I am soooooooo happy to see this sight…thank you!!! I get so fed up with the negativity on some of these sights and just recently recently commented on just that on one of the sights. It was incredibly sad to read the nasty & defensive responses. Your page is a relief to Me, knowing there is a place to go whether educators can TRULY support one another. Thank you again, I look forward to it!

  9. Cindy

    I absolutely love this idea! Thank you so much Angela. Getting excited about starting a new year :o)

  10. Emma Nichols

    Amazing idea! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Xx

  11. Hedy

    Just joined and awaiting confirmation. As I begin year 37 as a classroom teacher I feel that staying positive and encouraging is so very important. I look forward to a place where I can refresh my batteries so that I can be a good example to others.

  12. Crystal Wolowicz

    Hello Ms. Watson,

    I’m not sure if I clicked on the right button to join but I would love to be part of the group. This will be my first year teaching and I was hoping I could get connected with a veteran teacher that knows a lot about classroom management. I have some ideas but would love to hear what others are doing. Thanks

    Crystal Wolowicz
    PS: What a great and resource for teachers………Thanks so much!!

    • Crystal Wolowicz

      Great idea

  13. Linda Kardamis

    Encouragement is so important for teachers, and Facebook is such a great place for a group like this. I can’t wait to join.
    We actually just launched a similar group except that it’s for Christian teachers and the focus is not only on encouragement but also on asking questions, sharing advice, etc.
    I explain it here for those who are interested: http://teach4theheart.com/2013/08/05/introducing-christian-teachers-lounge-our-new-facebook-discussion-group/

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