One of my favorite TV moments is when Norm of the series Cheers walks into a bar and everyone shouts, “Norm” as if they were welcoming him home. Part of the Cheer’s theme song, Where Everybody Knows Your Name by Gary Portnoy, goes:

Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you’ve got
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot
Wouldn’t you like to get away

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
You want to be where you can see
Our troubles are all the same

And this is what Twitter is for me, a place where my Personal/Passionate Learning Network (PLN) knows my name, they’re glad I came and we find out all our educational problems are pretty much the same.

IATEFL Conference

This past week, I attended the IATEFL (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) conference in the UK. Maybe you saw the hashtag on Twitter and followed along. Our tweet-ups (meet-ups with people who are on the social network Twitter) were regularly at Christie’s Pub and many of us were Norm from Cheers as our PLN shouted our names, embraced us, and we chatted and joked like old friends. Many of us had only meet for the first time, yet it always feels like we’ve been friends for a long time.

IATEFL….

was the largest Tweet-up for me so far and I got to spend as long as 9 days with some of my Twitter friends.

As educators…

we face enough troubles. Our governments continue to not support us by making policies that cut our tenures, salaries, retirement, benefits, and so forth. Education policy around the world is usually not run by educators who spent years in the classroom with students. High stakes testing punishes teachers if they don’t get the right scores. Now entire staffs of teachers are being fired and our leadership is supporting these measures.

When someone asks why a Personal/ Passionate Learning Network (PLN)? Why Twitter?

My response is, “Why not?”

Why not have a support system that reminds you why you decided to teach in the first place, helps you self-reflect, collaborates with you, and at the end of the day is glad you are there? When our government education policy and school systems fail us that is when our PLN helps us.

IATEFL Highlights….

Thank you PLN for making this an incredible conference with your incredible presentations, support, love, and friendship! I’m always glad you came….

From my IATEFL Flickr Stream

Watch Jan Blake tell stories!

Hear Jeremy Harmer‘s poetry with the beautifully haunting melody of Steve Bingham!

IATEFL Links

In case you missed the conference, here are related video links & resources:

Posts about IATEFL

Please read the following in depth posts about the conference:

Which conference touched you? Did Twitter or your PLN play a part of the experience?