• What is a professional network?
  • How to build your professional network
  • How to utilise a professional network

What is a professional network?

A professional network consists of the connections teachers make in their journey through the profession, generally from their education degree onwards. It does not have to be a formal group or set of contacts. Professional networks are the people a teacher or leader know in education settings and within the broader education community. These connections are people who the teacher or leader can talk to, bounce ideas off, and collaborate, share insights, and attend professional learning with.

How to build a professional network

  • Maintain contact with people you studied with.
  • Talk to people at professional learning conferences or workshops.
  • Join an appropriate
    • professional association
    • union
    • local or area network offered by your department or employer.
  • Join or follow education social media groups and live chats.
  • Seek out a mentor. Mentors are not just for beginning teachers; teachers at all stages of their career can benefit from them. Mentors may be able to connect you with members of their own network.
  • Seek out those at your education setting who are considered experts in an area you need to develop.
  • Ask others in your network to connect you to people they know.
  • Make connections with community groups, business and industry, and universities.


How to utilise a professional network

  • Share a problem of practice: Teachers in the same geographical location, or teachers of a similar subject or cohort can share a problem of practice and learn from each other. This could be a formal arrangement, like regular organised gatherings or a simple phone call/social media chat to discuss ideas.
  • Connect your networks with each other: Every teacher’s network is a unique set of connections that can help teachers learn from each other. Through connecting one member of your network with another, you are helping to broaden their network and access to their peers.
  • Exposure to new ideas: Use your networks to gain exposure to new ideas or research that you can also share with your colleagues at your education setting. Having a broad network of contacts outside of education can also expose you to emerging trends and insights that might be relevant to your context.