It’s Imperative: Connect

#Colchat, Colorado’s weekly edchat that occurs on Twitter on Monday nights served as the reminder and encouragement that I needed to write this post.  I was previously convinced of this, but I was admittedly discouraged.  It is of utmost importance for all educators to engage in the conversations going on among connected educators via social media.  One person provided me this analogy recently.  He said during a triathlon when the athletes complete the swimming section, it’s most common for them to swim in groups, essentially drafting each other.  How much more efficient are those athletes when they can all swim in the wake of one another pushing in the same direction?  When compared to the swimmer who is by him/herself carving out their own current, I would much prefer to swim with the group.  The choice to connect with other educators and engage in the conversations focused on improving their practice and providing students better opportunities to learn is no longer an option.  Those educators who have chosen to join the group and share in the learning have engaged in a transformation completely unknown to non-connected educators.  The conversations have evolved so far beyond those conversations happening in classrooms, teacher-lounges, and schools that non-connected educators struggle to see the need to develop a PLN and engage in learning through social media.  Tom Whitby describes connecting to stepping on a bullet train headed to improved practice, reflection, and sharing the great things happening in innovative schools.  While not connecting is like waiting at the train station for a more comfortable train to ride.

One of my colleagues standing beside me in the trenches of my district recently said on Twitter: “I’ve learned more on Twitter than I have in any PD or college education class.”  #Colchat’s first question tonight was “Why is it important for educators to be connected?”  Expand your perspective.  Don’t try to solve problems or improve your practice looking through your own lens.  In fact, don’t seek solutions from someone else looking through their own lens.  The group is smarter than me.  In public education, truly innovative schools and classrooms involve the village.  It certainly does take a village…  Finally, this tweet was part of #colchat tonight: “A teacher not trying to make themselves better in the classroom is not someone I want teaching my kid.”

What drives you to become better?  There are a lot of ways to improve your practice, but when was the last time you were part of a conversation involving people outside our district?  State?  Who pushes you to become better?  Who is the one educator you learn from the most?  Comment below with 3 educators that model attributes you consider important in today’s education landscape.

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