“If I took my connectivity out of the equation of who I am, I would probably understand how much more I really can do as a human and be what I need to be for people in my life. I feel that I have been so incredibly blessed to be a connected educator and appreciate how it has helped me both professionally and personally with the friendships that I have acquired. In turn, I now know that other parts of my life have taken a hit because of it.”
This was something that I shared with my friend, Rachelle Dean-Poth, as we voxed back and forth one-day last week. I was flying solo on my 3rd walk of the day while camping. Rachelle and I weren’t engrossed in a conversation of learning, this was simply a moment of missing a friend. One that I have been blessed to have in my world for the past several years. We were talking about all that we love about everything we do. We spoke about how we miss many conversations that we used to find ourselves in on a daily basis, but that the reality is that there simply are not enough hours in a day. It came down to one point… if we use too many of our hours being connected we will miss out on what is right in front of us. In the midst of our conversation, I literally stopped and said, “You know, I should blog about this!” Ha! Well, here I am!
REVISIT and REFLECT
As I continue to revisit and reflect on bets (chapters) that Jacie and I wrote in our book, “All In: Taking a Gamble in Education,” I turn my attention to Bet 20: “Double Down on Your PLN.” In this bet, we reminded our readers how social media can transform relationships and connect you with a network of educators to provide support and inspiration. We asked our readers to share what inspiration they found outside of their personal school district that has helped them to move forward. Our Double Down at the end of the bet prompted each reader to ask themselves… what is one way you can contribute, in place of consuming? It is my time to revisit, reflect, and re-frame this Bet, and I challenge each of you to do the same.
CALL TO ACTION: As a connected educator, OWN your part as a leader for every child and contribute what you have learned through your PLN without giving up your own identity and balanced existence
One of the biggest gifts I have been given is my incredible PLN. No buts about it. The one thing that I have learned is that by surrounding myself with those that are incredibly passionate about the same things in life as myself, I have grown beyond anything I have ever imagined! With that has come something else that I have learned… when I am contributing all that I have gained, at times I knock myself off balance from the world that I share with my family. This is where I re-frame my accountability in how and when I use my social media, not to mention how and when I connect with the most incredible friends and passionate educators that have truly blessed my world. I don’t believe there is a one size fits all approach, but for me, I have learned to navigate this in a different way over time.
Did you ever have someone say they love how your friendship can pick up where you left off? Whether it is a week or even a month, we don’t look back thinking of “what we missed”, but in turn, we live in the moment and look forward to “what can be!” No apologies, just welcoming arms. These are the people within my PLN/PLF that I find to get the most out of what I can humanly offer. We learn great amounts from one another. We take that information to create a better tomorrow for every child, but we do not hold the other to an obligation of connecting continuously. Let’s face it, now that we are truly connected educators we have blended “colleague status”/acquaintances with friendships that we are wired to give more attention to… so where do we go from here? Let’s get back to the roots of why being a connected educator is so important to you, your students, colleagues, and community.
For me, a connected educator means (not in order of importance, simply a list of impact):
-A constant support system (that is a give and take)
-Embraced risk-taking and disruption
-The constructive push-back that propels me forward
-Learning with a diverse PLN (Professional Learning Network)
-Leading beyond the four walls of my own existence
-Kindness connections that nurture my soul
-Joyful Leaders that remind me that my heart can impact the same as my brain
-The laughter that comes with endless conversations
To Be Better Than My Yesterday!
(graphic created and posted in 2018)
Being better than my yesterday has been my mantra since I was a child. Keeping my focus on a “me vs me” mentality and limiting my comparison to others has helped me to grow. What I am humanly capable of looks different from week to week, but for me, I must prioritize and keep focus… I challenge you to do the same!
- Family First Always
- Self Care/Well-Being (#1-2 are the same level of importance… the analogy of putting your mask on before trying to save others always stops me in my tracks)
- Learning and Growing/Social Media
- Contributing in all ways possible!/Social Media
If I truly want to Re-frame this Bet and take this CALL TO ACTION and live it, I must first keep numbers one and two on my list in balance. From there, anything is possible!