(originally posted 3/28/10)
Many times our Teaching Soulmates are not located in our own buildings or even in our own districts. In this day and age, there are so many ways to find and keep in touch with the people who will keep us going.
Locally, look towards your Language Teachers’ Associations. Several of my closest friends in the world, and my almas gemelas, came from WAFFLE (Wayne-Finger Lakes Foreign Language Educators) and our association with NYSAFLT (New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers). NYSAFLT conferences have connected me with other kindred souls.
If you haven’t yet been involved with a listserv, there is always FLTEACH and the moretprs list through Yahoo groups. At www.moretprs.net you can find a bulletin board-type of forum and all kinds of people to chat with about teaching and life. How do you find a teaching soulmate here? By reading posts. And no, you don’t have to have them all delivering messages to your inbox. They all allow you to join and read posts on the site itself…without ever having to open a message.
Many people have soulmates on these lists…and have never even communicated with them. Sometimes a frequent poster has a point of view or way of thinking that sparks your imagination. You will find yourself drawn to reading his/her posts whenever you need a boost.
Sometimes “lurkers” will send a message ‘offlist” directly to a poster’s email, and an electronic exchange begins. I have “met” several incredible individuals this way. Then, of course, sometimes a friendship is sparked by a good old exchange of ideas on the list. At the annual NYSAFLT, NECTFL, Central States, SWOCLT, ACTFL and other conferences, folks put dots or smileys on their nametags so that they can identify fellow listers (lurkers or not!!)
Some of the most powerful connections have come when someone writes to the group with a need, problem or concern and is rewarded with an outpouring messages, on and off-list, from other teachers. We are here for each other in a way that is sometimes not possible in our own buildings.
There has never been a better time to make a friend…
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