You Need Teacher-Friends
Note:  October 2019 is our second-ever month focused on discussion. This article and four more like it 
form a month-long series emphasizing the value of community where teachers of English Learners can give
and receive support.

In every school where I have taught, there has been at least one other teacher with whom I clicked. During my first year teaching, it was Monica. She offered teaching advice, support for navigating a new school environment, and an encouraging smile whenever I needed it. She also helped me through those days when I wondered whether I had chosen the right profession. I’ll always be grateful for her friendship.

You’ve met those colleagues, too, right? 

He or She is the one who will listen to you complain about a policy or parent without judgment. They will make copies for you on their planning period or share a helpful teaching idea. They even know when you need an encouraging word or a sweet treat. 

Or maybe you haven’t met those colleagues. 

As the demands on teaching have grown in recent years, it seems like there is less time for teachers to have meaningful conversations in order to develop relationships. Consequently, some teachers feel isolated and alone at a time when they need more support than ever. We all need to feel that someone has our back; that others understand what we’re going through and are willing to offer well-timed advice. It’s a lack of support that drives so many away from the teaching profession today. Of course, there are a myriad of reasons why someone chooses to end their formal teaching career, but feeling alone doesn’t have to be one of them.

An important part of Dear Dr. Mooney is our online community where you can meet and converse with other teachers 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. By signing up for a free user account and participating in the Discussion Forums, you will find colleagues who have faced similar challenges. Not only will you learn new ways to teach your English Learners effectively, you’ll also discover you are part of something bigger than your local context. 

Here, you’ll discover you are not alone. 


Getting started is easy!

Register for a free member account

Here's where you can register for a free user account

Shown below are lists of Discussion Forums where you can interact with your colleagues. There are separate Forums for different categories of discussions. This way, it’s easy to find a discussion that addresses your current question.

Here's the list of all Discussion Forums

Three Ways to Participate in Discussion Forums

1. Read

Click on a Discussion Forum title that sounds interesting. Then, you’ll see a list of discussions. These are called “Topics”. Each topic is a separate discussion, but all should be related to the overall Discussion Forum category that you clicked on. In the example below, they’re about Native Language Use. Feel free to read through and learn from all of the information that has been shared in these discussions.

Here's where you can read topics within a discussion forum

2. Respond

Your Dear Dr. Mooney colleagues want to hear your ideas, too. What have your experiences taught you about teaching English Learners? Have you read a good book lately that gave you some insight into a current teaching challenge? Explore the forums and topic questions that others have posed. When you find questions that you can contribute to, click Reply to and submit your response. We want to learn from you!

Here's where you respond to the discussion question or other responses

3. Ask your questions

Do you have questions about which you would like to talk with colleagues? Here’s how…

  • Find the forum to which your question most closely aligns.
  • In that forum, click Create New Topic.
  • Include a title that clearly summarizes what your question is about.
  • Pose your question with as much background information or detail as you’d like.
  • Click Submit.
Here's where you can ask your own questions

The Dear Dr. Mooney online community was designed to provide a place for teachers to find real-time advice, support, and resources. Join the Discussion Forums to interact with colleagues, share your ideas, and discover that you are not alone in this adventure of teaching English learners. Take advantage of all this space has to offer.

Participate in our newest Discussion Forum Topic, “Tell us about yourself”
Get started today!

We now have active educators from 8 states who have joined the Dear Dr. Mooney online community. In some ways, teaching English Learners is similar everywhere, but differences in context present a variety of challenges and solutions. Let’s find out where everyone is from and what it’s like where you are. 

Take 5 minutes in this Discussion Forum to tell us about your teaching context. You never know what you might learn by interacting with someone teaching in a state you’ve never even visited!

Excerpts of this article appeared previously in “You Are Not Alone
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