Within the past year I have grew as a person and as an educator by being connected. I have met wonderful people with whom I value their opinions, thoughts and dedication to education. I can’t imagine where I would be without my PLN. A year ago I knew nothing about blogs, EdChats, and Voxer groups. I am better because of these.
This past year, through being connected, I was able to visit schools and see great things other leaders were doing. Jacki Prati and Craig Vroom opened their schools to me and allowed me to see another aspect of school leadership. These connections were simply made through Twitter and being connected.
Being part of the Compelled Tribe under Jon Wennstrom’s leadership has encouraged me to take risks and write about the wonderful things I see happening in education. Watching a Periscope video of Jennifer Hogan and Craig Vroom encouraged me to give this is shot and it has been one of the best things I could have done. The great friendships that I have formed through this group is unlike any other. Allyson Apsey’s blogs and tweets encourage me to be better weekly!
Derek Oldfield, Reuben Bellisario and I must have a mile long strand of messages to each other in Twitter. The relationship and support team that the three of us have formed has been extremely encouraging and helpful.
I know the importance of being connected and the value it brings. I joke with Bobby Dodd often about some of the crazy things I have heard recently after interning with him last year, but a recent Voxer chat made me reflect on those who are not connected. Is not being connected bad? Does that mean a person isn’t innovative and successful?
I do come from an area of my state where there are very highly recognizable connected educators. I think it’s a misconception that all people are socially connected where I am from. Sure, we encourage it, but some people just aren't there. They may never be.
I think of my teammate “G”. She is two years from retirement and by far one of the best teachers I have ever worked with in my life. Her dedication to her students and the others in our department is like none other. She will never be a “socially connected” educator. You won’t find her on Twitter. You won’t find her on Facebook. You will however find her doing the most amazing things with her students.
“G” teaches direct instruction English classes to special education students. Not the easiest gig. What she does with these students blows my mind. She was one of the first to use Google Classroom, having students submit their work that way to her. She had her students writing blogs, and their final was producing a podcast! They read from Nooks and produce Prezis. When you walk into her room, these struggling kids are enjoying Of Mice and Men and Shakespeare. These kids are writing pieces that brings tears to my eyes. These kids are learning!
So, is being connected important? Yes, I will stand on top of my house and give you a thousand reasons why a person should be, but I also encourage us all to find the hidden “Gs” in our schools. These educators know their “why”. We need to share their stories for them.