5 Awesome Places for Teachers to Find Resources and Get Support
Since the creation and introduction of social media and social networking through technology, teachers have been leveraging it to become better teachers and supporters of other teachers. By nature, teachers want to help not only students, but also other teachers.
Social media is so versatile that it can be a place of solidarity and support, and resources (both paid and free).
For new (and even veteran) teachers, I’ve compiled a list of places and spaces where teachers can explore and gather resources to help them become better teachers.
Teachers inherently want to improve our practice. It’s our nature. We want to make our lessons even more engaging and push students to think even more critically about the world around them. So when we feel a lesson or unit needs just a little (or a whole lot) of something extra, we look to our resources available. Sometimes, it’s the teacher's edition of a textbook. Sometimes, it’s the colleague across the hallway. And sometimes, it’s the Internet.
1) Blogs and Websites
For years, teachers have taken to the blogo-sphere to share what they do in their classrooms and offer their resources and support. It’s in solidarity and it says, “I’ve been there. Here is what I do; I hope it helps!”
Teacher blogs can be a bottomless bucket of ideas, lessons, and even products that can enhance lessons and keep kids engaged. The best blogs to explore are teacher blogs. Spaces where teachers are honest and share what they do, what worked for them, what didn’t work for them, and ways they strive to improve their practice.
When you find a great teacher-author or website out there, know that you’ve struck GOLD! Some of my favorite websites that house oodles of resources are Teach Junkie (formerly Teaching Blog Addict) and Teaching Blog Central.
2) Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher Websites
Teachers Pay Teachers took the teaching world by storm, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping! TPT is a massive marketplace packed with TONS of resources that teachers have created to use in their own classroom.
As the name suggests, these resources are not free, but it does go to supporting fellow teachers. Because let’s be honest, no matter how many years experience or how many degrees, the bottom line is that teachers don’t get paid nearly enough. However, many teacher-authors also offer freebies through their stores!
Also, many teacher-authors have decided to cut out the middleman and create their own websites to sell their resources. Check out the Simply Novel store here.
Connecting with other educators is the lifeline that keeps us going and excited about teaching our content. Sharing ideas fuels creativing and inspires us all! Teachers have taken to Twitter to organize chats where teachers gather virtually on Twitter to discuss and chat about a particular topic, idea, or theme.
There are TONS of chats!
Did you know that there are special chat times for teachers to get together to chat about certain subjects? I didn’t when I first started this all. Cybraryman has created a massive list of all the Twitter chats (with meeting days and times) for you to peruse!
Some of the chats that I have participated in are #edchat and #engchat. Just login to Twitter during those times, search for the hasthag, and join in. In order to add your comment, be sure to add the same hashtag in your tweet.
WARNING: Twitter chats can move EXTREMELY fast, depending upon the subject, so you may want to sit back and watch a few times. It can be like drinking water from a firehose. It is interesting to see the different points of views of educators, principals, librarians, policy makers, etc. all gathering to discuss a particular subject. One of my favorite chats onTwitter is one specifically geared toward secondary English teachers and runs on Tuesday nights at 8pm EST. Check out #2ndaryELA.
Pinterest has grown to be the second largest search engine. From recipe ideas to teaching tips, it has everything. Pinterest is a virtual smorgasbord of ideas for teachers to save (or “pin”) and use later. We’ve got some awesome board and shared group boards on our Pinterest - be sure to follow the boards you’re interested in, or follow the whole bunch!
Teachers are naturally thrifty! With the way schools are underfunded, we have to be. Did you know that teacher authors are constantly running giveaways? This has been a business model that has worked for years on Facebook and other social media sites. Be sure to check out your favorite teacher-author’s website, Facebook page, Twitter Account, or even Instagram account for updates and announcements. Another fun fact is that there are blogs dedicated entirely to giving away freebies. Check out Classroom Freebies!
If you sign up for the Simply Novel weekly newsletter (which features awesome articles, freebies, giveaways, contests, and new and updated product announcements) you can get a Freebie BUNDLE for your specific grade level span (High School, Middle School, Elementary) worth over $25!
There is so much information and so many resources out there for teachers that it can be overwhelming. Find just a handful of blogs and websites that speak to you and when you’re ready to, branch out and discover more.
Social media and social networking helps teachers grow from each other. Connection and support is essential to combat teacher burnout and increase confidence in our practice, which not only benefits teachers, but also students.
I hope you’ve been able to take something small (or even big) from this to take back to your own classroom. If you have other ideas, please share. I love learning alongside other teachers!