Ha! Seems that Having a PLN Will Take You Halfway to Happiness

Taken on the way to the car after work this morning
Taken on the way to the car after work this morning

I’m usually quite suspicious of any posts or written materials that claim to have the recipe for happiness. I mean, really?!

But this particular post caught my attention because of the photo with the words:

“You are good enough”.

The term “Good enough mother” (Winnicott) was very significant to me after the boys were born, and so I read on. I was delighted to find that almost all of the “10 Simple Habits Proven to Make You Happier” related to what belonging to a PLN can do for you. So this post, is really about why a teacher who wants to promote her/his happiness level must join a PLN and , when possible, attend an ELT conference (there’s an ETAI one coming up shortly!).

Number one, two and five on the list, are “no-brainers”. In a community of teachers you connect to others, “giving” goes with sharing. Huge exposure and encouragement to help you keep learning new things. And then learn how moderate the amount of new things you learn before you become overwhelmed…

Number ten, now that’s a powerful one “be part of something bigger”. If you have ever participated in an online collaboration or attended a conference, you’ll know what that feels like. Really good.

You may not think that number FOUR (“noticing the world around you”) is related, but I certainly find it to be so. Huge number of ELT teachers contribute photos (for the benefit of all teachers) to ELTPics, a project started by teachers collaborating. The calls for photos on certain topics encourages noticing your surroundings. I’m having a great time with blipfoto (which of course I go to know through my PLN). Every day I upload one picture (you can only upload one a day) of something I have noticed in my every day surroundings. Amazing what I never looked at in the school yard, next to the supermarket and on the way to gym class…  No special photo trips for me! I thought I wouldn’t have time for this, but it takes only a few minutes and feels great!

Numbers six, seven, eight and nine are partial matches. Having the strong support of a PLN and attending conferences does support setting goals and bouncing back from difficulties, seeing the bright side of things and feeling better about yourself. But it certainly isn’t enough. Remember, I did say HALFWAY! To deal with life I believe you need more than that. But one should gather support from wherever it is available, and every bit helps.

The only item on the list that having a PLN does not help with is number three, exercising! Connecting online and attending a conference promotes SITTING DOWN! Which is supposed to be bad for us all. Sigh…

Still, halfway to happiness is a big deal, and I’m grateful.

Note: Yes, I’m very influenced by Shel Silverstein’s poem “This Bridge”:

“This bridge will only take you halfway there”.



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