In the fall four educators came together to form a small book study group. We all were connected to another person in some way. We chose the classic How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and used Voxer as our communication platform. We hope you enjoy our story of learning together.
By: Paul Bailey, Tamara Bonhotel, Holly Griffin & Jodie Pierpoint
Reflection of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie-
I have absolutely loved reading Carnegie’s book. When I shared with some friends that I would be reading it, I heard the same thing over and over: you will love this book. And, they were right. At first, I thought his suggestions were obvious and simple, but when I really thought about how they could connect to the world of education, they didn’t seem so obvious and simple anymore. So far, each principle is applicable to almost everything I do daily in my current position, and I enjoy getting an opportunity to test them out.
This was a book I had heard about, but must say was never on my “must read” list. I found after the first chapter that it was enjoyable and offered great insight on better ways to communicate with others. Although sometimes I found myself thinking, “this is common knowledge” I found that in reflection I could handle situations differently to get better responses.
Thoughts on being part of a virtual book study -
After participating and leading several virtual book studies, I was eager to start this book. Our group was small, but I truly believe that this allowed us to reflect and share deeper, more personal stories and reflections. I felt a connection to the members of our group and felt more comfortable sharing thoughts and opinions. I think that it is so important as educators to continue to read and grow. This format allows us that opportunity - and is a great way to meet others outside your local community/PLC.
Depending on the length of the chapters, our book chats are usually one to two chapters per week. Participants are asked to post a message about their thoughts of the reading and respond to the messages left by others. Participants leave audio messages on Voxer and the group chats asynchronously. Other participants will listen and respond to the messages when they are able. Using Voxer for book chats allows educators to participate in professional dialogue without constraints of time, geographic location, and commitments.
Growing Your PLN -
I have “dabbled” in a variety of educational chats, but I have yet to become a regular on any of them. When I have engaged in a chat, I find when it is over I am energized from the information and the energy of the chat. Through chats, I have grown my PLN and this has expanded my connections so that I have joined Voxer groups which has increased my PLN even moreso. I have been trying to get my fellow colleagues to try out this great “PD in your jammies” idea of Twitter, but I am met with furrowed brows of “that’s just one more thing to learn.”
I cannot stress enough the importance of having a PLN to learn and grow with continually. Joining Twitter was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I have friends now, that even though I have never seen these people face to face, they are people I share stories and experiences with weekly. They help me grow. They encourage and support me. My PLN has made me a stronger, more confident person. I am grateful, and I encourage others all the time to step out of the borders of the their buildings to learn from the amazing people you find on-line!
Why Being Connected Helps you Grow -
I believe we have such a big advantage over educators who preceded us. The ability to chat with other educators across the country would have never been an option 20 years ago (or 17 when I started). It’s nice to know that if I have a question or just simply need guidance on an issue, the answer is literally at the tip of my fingers. Also, I feel that I could serve as a mentor to others, even though I am only a year and a half into my position. I have an advantage that others don’t being in a small school district. I wear many hats that many of my peers do not, and I think that gives me more experience. Given the opportunity to share with others or mentor will also help me grow as an educator.
I always read education related books but found it difficult to have available time to meet other educators for a study. For all us, families and personal well being are a top priority to stay on our ‘A game.’ We also need to lesson plan, reflect, grade, create, and grow professionally. We coach our student-athletes, participate in leadership teams, and attend extracurricular activities.Paul Bailey
Please let us know if you would be interested in joining
us this summer in our next book chat!