Welcome to the world of being a connected educator were “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME” all day, every day. The truth is, it is really awesome being connected, finding the people who have become my PLN, building those connections, and learning so much. The connections I have made are life altering and I can genuinely say I could not imagine having never developed the relationships that I have made with these many different people.
That is the sparkly, glitter filled side that everyone wants to ooh and ahhh about. There is a different side to all this awesomeness that no one ever seems to mention.
Before being connected I often felt alone in many ways. I had very few people around me who understood my vision or who shared my philosophies. Because of this, I generally kept to myself about many things I wanted to do or try. I still did them, but most of the time I had people say things like, “I didn’t know where you were going with that, but now that I see it, its great.” That was before I was “unplugged from the Matrix” before I realized I was not alone.
Only now that I am not alone, I am still alone. Despite finding others that share my ideas, that are progressive and focussed on growth and improvement, I have found that being connected is also very lonely at times. For whatever their reasons, many people just don’t want to hear about the exciting, awesome things you are learning. They look at your ideas, things you are trying, risks you are taking, and think you have lost your mind.
Truthfully I had never strayed from my personal educational philosophy in my classroom until I felt the pressure because I wanted to get off my island and share my ideas with the world. Now, I often feel even less inclined to share ideas locally.
Last week I started using my homemade green screen with my class. When I talked about it with excitement I received looks like I should be locked in the nut house for doing this with 1st graders. I know my PLN gets it, I know they are excited to hear about the things I am trying and the work I am doing with younger kids. Unfortunately that has not made my life easier at school.
The dangerous thing about being a change agent, the agent that sparks the flames is often burned up in the attempt to ignite the flame. The darkest part of my PLN is that as I try to aspire to the levels of Awesomeness that I see and hear each day, I end up more and more isolated in person.
I know my story is not the same as everyone’s, but it is the ugly side of becoming a connected educator. On Saturday I am presenting at EdTechNJ, I have shared this with thousands of people in my life, but none in my school.
Be prepared. While I would not change anything about my journey or becoming connected, I wish I would have been prepared for how unprepared many people are to be a part of your journey. Sometimes, as one of the kids in my class said, “EVERYTHING IS AWKWARD!”