A Year in the Life of a Community

If you had told me a year ago that going to the KOTESOL International Conference was going to change my life, I never would have believed you. But seeing one presentation did just that.

Following the recommendation of @michaelegriffin – then only known as Michael Griffin – I attended Chuck Sandy‘s 10am Sunday presentation. He spoke of the value of creating communities: if you don’t have one, create one. At the end of the presentation, he talked about one such community of teachers he helped create called International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi).

The talk was inspiring in so many ways, but there was a 20 second soundbite that pushed me in a very important direction.

“Who’s on Twitter? Get yourself on Twitter!

Who’s on Facebook?

Facebook works. Twitter’s better.”

So I signed up.*

Now, a year later, part of my community is linked to iTDi. This past weekend at JALT2012, I had the great pleasure of meeting some of the iTDi faces that were up on Chuck’s powerpoint. Here are a three of these inspiring teachers:

Barbara Sakamoto, Yitzha Sarwono, & Marco Brazil

They are no longer pictures on a screen. Yitzha is my Instagram buddy, a constant source of light on Twitter, and now a friend I am fortunate enough to have had dinner with. Barbara, who inspires us via her own online community, Teaching Village, is someone I have exchanged thoughts and smiles with. Meeting Marco at JALT was an infusion of joy. I am very happy to now be connected to him. If I hadn’t seen Chuck’s presentation, I doubt I would have made my journey to JALT, which this video shows was very much worth it.

A year has passed since that fateful conference day, and now it’s our turn to present about a community we created on Twitter: KELTchat. I look forward to standing with Alex Grevett, Alex Walsh, Michael Griffin and Anne Hendler as we talk about how and why we came to be.

I am incredibly grateful for the communities I am a member of thanks to that inspiring October day.

Thank you Chuck. :)

*A little known fact: I had been on Twitter for two years, apparently dropping my blog posts into the abyss before I met Chuck. Until that day, I had no idea how powerful/magical Twitter really was.

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12 thoughts on “A Year in the Life of a Community

  1. Wow, I remember sitting in that presentation too, but I totally missed the twitter sign up part! Chuck’s talk was definitely one of the most inspirational I’ve been too and helped me to feel more confident in the direction that I was going with my teaching. I am definitely missing the RP meetings and community now that I’m out of Korea!


    1. Hello Gordon! It was so good to read your comment on my post. Interesting to note I only met you after that pivotal presentation. It’s fun to hear about the positive impact it had on so many of us. I hope all is well for you in Hawaii! We also miss you over here. I saw that Mike was reading your blog. Glad he brought it back to my attention. I love your perspective and the way you write.

      Check out Gordon’s blog Meaningful Practice everyone!


  2. What an amazing presentation by Chuck, I love this guy I tell ya! :)…..I’m really getting all excited (and nervous) about this weekend, all the ‘giants’ that I’m gonna meet and hopefully I don’t get tongue tied or something!!!:)


  3. There is no end to what a positive community can accomplish. And fast! I feel everyday that I am the most fortunate of teachers for having found you and Mike in the spring of this year. Since then it’s been a wild ride on the path to amazing PD and the meeting of genuine good friends.

    Thanks to Chuck and a BIG thanks to you!!! for getting this community in Korea started! I can tell you it has irrevocably altered my life and my career, in the most positive of ways. For that, I heartily thank you Josette! :D


    1. The thanks keeps on giving doesn’t it John. I return the thanks to you. Your energy and enthusiasm for teaching is positively contagious. I can remember a few times this week when I wasn’t sure if I could keep going, and then I saw one of your tweets. We never know what impact we have. :) Just do what you love and the goodness will spread. This is what I see us, and particularly you, doing very well.

      I was just telling Anne yesterday how grateful I am for our little group with such a big heart. In awe. In blissful awe my friend. :)


  4. There are so many people who feel like they need to thank Chuck for the changes he inspired in their lives! i just can’t imagine how Chuck can live with all of this gratitude, it’s overwhelming, it’s soo enormous and TRUE!!!=) Josette, I feel exactly the same, only there’s got to appear some #RUeltchat one day soon!)
    Thanks for posting this.


    1. You are so welcome Anna and thank you for celebrating this journey with me. I consider the day I met Chuck, also the day I met you. :) For this I am very grateful. I never could have imagined the sisterhood that was going to form. Life is truly amazing.


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