Private school teachers do not belong to a teachers' union. One of the great strengths of a union is that it connects like-minded workers, keeps them informed of trends within their industry and promotes solidarity. These are all laudable aims. How does a private school teacher achieve all that?
Keep your network current
Think of all the people you meet in person or electronically every day. Keep email addresses for those colleagues and others whom you consider valuable in some way. Perhaps you admire a colleague for her leadership in a particular area such as laptop computing or Web 2.0. Leave a comment on her blog. Email her. You don't have to write an epistle. A few words of positive support and encouragement are all that is needed. Ask for help. It is impossible for anybody to have all the answers. Your colleagues are a wonderful resource. Keeping your network current allows you to utilize those resources fully.
Connect on ISED-L and ISEN
Interacting with your colleagues is something you need to do regularly. Join the discussions on ISED-L and ISEN. Express your opinions. Learn from what others are saying.
Blogging is one of the most effective ways for you to stay connected. Blogging is free. It's easy to do. Think of blogging as an electronic journal. Jot down your thoughts. No need to fuss about syntax or grammar. Blogging is free-form. Read other blogs. Leave comments for those bloggers. Create your own blog in a private school community such as Independent School Educators Network
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds
help keep you connected to news and information you want to know. Simply put, there is far too much information out there for us to manage efficiently. In the old days you bought magazines and subscribed to journals. That's just not a 'green' solution to information gathering. All the information which you need is online anyway. Use an aggregator such as Feedly
to collect the articles you want to read. Then spend an hour or so weekly scanning the material you have selected.
Attend regional and national conferences
Attending regional and national conferences is a great way to meet colleagues, learn new ideas and techniques and generally heighten your awareness of current trends in your chosen profession. Most private schools have budgetted for such events because they benefit the school as well.
Completing your master's degree or taking courses towards an additional certificate also has the benefit of connecting you with new colleagues. Consider applying to be an Edward E. Ford Foundation
or Klingenstein Fellow
. Both these organizations have independent schools as their focus.