Community Engagement and COETAIL: When I started COETAIL last year, one of the first blog posts that I wrote was about learning communities. In that post, I shared a mind map that talked about the ways in which I was a connected learner. Reflecting back on that post today, I am pleased to see that I have grown in so many ways. I am now much more involved in the international teaching community.
COETAIL has been awesome for me in terms of networking. I have increased my confidence and I feel more comfortable reaching out to others. Instead of being isolated in my current teaching position, I have expanded my network and formed relationships with educators in other countries and schools. This has allowed me to feel incredibly supported in my classroom practice.
Networking and the COETAIL Community: In the Mind Map above I showed how I used social media apps to find educational resources. I wrote about organizations and groups that I followed. After joining the COETAIL community, I am now in contact with many more international educators around the globe. I even used some of these contacts last fall when I was job seeking. I took a few risks and reached out to people on Twitter asking about possible job openings, which is something that I never would have done before.
I landed a few job interviews as a result of COETAIL. Being a part of COETAIL reminded me of how I felt in college when I was part of a sorority. It was like I had found a huge network of people in the field who could serve as resources and liaisons. And, when I interviewed with someone who had also completed the COETAIL program, we found that we had a shared language and background to focus our conversation.
Taking Risks and Pursuing New Opportunities: My COETAIL journey propelled me to see myself as a leader in the field of education and educational technology. I realized that I had things to share and that my experience and perspective might be of value to others. After starting COETAIL, I volunteered twice to be a guest on the Shifting our Schools Podcast. The first time was as a panelist on an episode about Project Based Learning, and the second time was to offer commentary on a feedback protocol called “Digesting Feedback”.
I was also emboldened by my COETAIL experience to apply to be a member of the teacher-leader constituent committee for the Association for Middle-Level Education (AMLE). I was surprised when, last month, I was not only selected to be on the committee but was chosen to serve as the committee chair! This was an incredibly proud moment for me, as it has always been a goal of mine to be on a board. As the committee chair, I will be responsible for facilitating meetings with a group of about twenty middle school teacher-leaders from around the globe.
Sharing my Learning: Another way in which I have changed as a result of COETAIL is that I am becoming more open to sharing my learning with others. After researching and creating a unit about Digital Storytelling for COETAIL Course 5, my co-teacher Shafali and I decided to present at a recent “Teachers Teaching Teachers” Professional Learning Day at my school.
We had about ten teachers in attendance at our workshop. We shared resources and tips for teachers who were interested in trying digital storytelling in their classrooms. You can check out our presentation below. And, after learning about unconferences from a COETAIL colleague last year, this presentation is very self-directed and self-paced so you can go through it easily from the comforts of your home.
Click on the image or the link below to see the presentation slides that we used in our workshop. Also, I tried to remember what I had learned in COETAIL Course 3 about good slide design and CARP in this presentation (maybe you notice the Flaticon images and clear slides)…
Supporting Each Other: Being a part of COETAIL Cohort 13 has also given me a built-in support group during challenging times. Dealing with COVID and the impact of the pandemic has not been easy. Teachers have faced so many stressors, and the threat of burnout is constant. The past year was tumultuous. Having my cohort group members to talk with on Whatsapp has been a blessing. We have shared information, triumphs, and struggles.
I have also been avidly following the blogs of my COETAIL 13 cohort members. Seeing other people’s comments on my posts, and being able to comment on other people’s posts, has helped me to feel connected to educators across the globe, and it has fostered empathy. I know that I am not alone in my thoughts that this has been a difficult few years for everyone. And it is a comfort to know that others have been following my story too. We are not just members of a cohort now, we are friends.
Closing Thoughts – Every Ending is a New Beginning! Next year, I will be moving to Vientiane, Laos to teach MYP Individuals and Societies at Vientiane International School. I noticed that Luis, a COETAIL Cohort 12 graduate, is also working there. I am excited to be joining the VIS community and to be working with another COETAILer! Yay! I think that all of my writing for COETAIL on this website might have helped me to land my new position;)
In the future, I hope to continue writing and reflecting on my teaching practice on this blog. Having an opportunity to think deeply about the day-to-day happenings in my classroom has given me increased insight into what good teaching and learning look like.
Moving forward, I want to continue to push myself as a teacher and be a leader in the field of education. COETAIL has allowed me to sharpen my tools of observation and encouraged me to share my thinking with others. And, for that, I am so grateful.
This is Megan’s Musings, signing off for now…Love and pranams!
And, of course, Cheers!