If you’re an English teacher and you don’t know who Jim Burke is, I just have to wonder where you’ve been for the last decade. Burke, an English teacher at Burlingame High School, outside of San Francisco, has been sharing his professional insights with colleagues around the country through numerous books and a popular listserv he has moderated for years. His Web site is a treasure trove of resources for novice and veteran teachers alike.
Now Burke is trying to use social-networking tools to build an even more vibrant online community for English teachers. He just alerted me that he has started a Ning for middle and high school teachers. (Yes, I had to look up what that is, but now that I know, I can recommend you take a look.)
“I want it to serve all English teachers (6-12) but especially new and student-teachers who just do not seek out professional associations and support through the traditional organizations like NCTE,” he wrote. He hopes “to offer additional avenues, via new media, to reach, support, and draw them into the profession.”
He’s also hoping that one of the benefits will be attracting more teachers to the organizations that support such efforts and provide untold resources for raising up the profession. Burke says such organizations are seeing lower turnouts at conventions, in some part because of the perception that information and materials on the Internet are enough.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.