I’m asked often how I manage to stay connected to other educators on Twitter, Voxer, in regional groups, and face-to-face while also (1) completing my day job, (2) being a mom, (3) being a wife, (4) being me, and (5) keeping a smile on my face. To these people, I dedicate this post because the simple truth is this: being connected makes all of this possible. Rather than being an additional “pull” on the finite hours in my day, it is seamlessly woven into my daily tasks and identity. I like connectivity, and I would have it no other way.
In honor of Connected Educator Month, the #connectedtl Twitter Team has chosen to chat about our “educrushes” this week. We wanted to take the time to recognize and thank the members of our PLNs who enrich us and whose relationships have led to some amazing experiences – and we want you to do that same. In preparation for this chat, I want to take the time to thank a few people who have shown me the essence of connectivity and inspire me to reach out to others.
To Sergio (@coach_sv) – You discovered me and the little team of teachers in #lusded who were trying to make connections happen. We were small but mighty, and you held our digital hands at the very beginning when we needed a little courage. Now look where we’re at. Thank you for noticing us and our hashtag and making us feel like we mattered.
To Noah (@SenorG) – I stumbled into you and your team of badgers at the very beginning of your Twitter Chat journey and quickly felt at home. Those of us who are dedicated change agents to the digital badging cause need to touch base each week to remember that our efforts still matter, that the topic is still relevant, and that our efforts are not in vane. I am grateful (even from afar) that our PLN exists. #badgechatk12
To Jackie (@JackieGerstein) – Your course on social media for educators revolutionized my thinking. I felt a greater purpose for my efforts online and wanted to model the amazing ideas you showed us to the teachers I have the privilege to spend time with. Your work has steered so many of us wavering newbies to believe that it matters to own our domain and to define our digital footprint with a purpose. Thank you for lighting the way for all of us quickly trailing behind.
To Rhonda and Matt (@rhondacorippo and @MrVaudrey) – You are both my edu-soulmates who take me for what I am and give back so much more each and everyday. You are my lunch room, my coffee hour, my happy hour, and my late-night wonder buddies. I hope we get to keep riding and riding this #connectedtl wave.
To Cinnamon (@cbjohnsrud) – Without you, #lusded might be a shallow tag in the Twitterverse searching for a community. Your enthusiasm is unmatched, and your quiet and steady leadership is felt by all of us who have the chance to spend time with you.
To Joe (@ucdjoe) – When I was an ISTE newbie and trying to find my footing in the epicenter of edtech waves, you swung in and took my under your wing. You shared your network and your friends, and I quickly felt safe and able to be the me that I have wanted to be as an educator. Though life has thrown us both some serious curve balls, I cherish your mentorship each day.
To Jennifer (@motogibby) – Our journey is just beginning and I can’t wait to see the adventures that lie ahead for us. Not many people can say that they can see their dreams coming together, and you give me hope that not only is dreaming important, but the reality is eminent when you surround yourself with the right people, the right energy, and the right space.
Finally, to my #GTAATX family – One of the biggest reasons I wanted to join the GCT/GCI community was to meet and connect with educators like you so as to become a better resource for my community.. I know that my growth depends on the strength and force of my PLN, and you have matched my expectations on every level. Knowing that this group is ready to support and help at a moment’s notice helps me prepare for the changes that are ahead.
One of the driving external forces to this whole effort is the unwavering support of my family – especially my husband – who recognizes the fill that I experience after any contact with my PLN.
Let us take this month to simply be grateful for a world that makes connections like this possible. Reach out to your PLN both near and far, and give a high-five for not only supporting you but allowing you to just be you – for giving you time to step away, and not flinching when you’re ready to jump back in for more.
Happy Connected Educators Month!!!