A year ago today I ventured into a world I didn’t even know existed. I began reaching out to a wider community of educators. A year ago today the world of education was external, small, and outside of the scope of my existence. When I heard of conferences with presenters, education authors, and the latest ideas, they were somewhere beyond the world I lived. I had encountered things from that world, but for me, education existed in the bubble of my classroom at the end of the hall and in my tiny rural school.
A year ago today, that changed. I pointed my ship into the darkness, identified a strange new world, and headed off toward a totally different understanding of education. In the past year I have developed into truly being a “connected educator”. What have I learned? How am I different? Why does that matter?
I have learned so many new things it would be impractical to list them here, but what I have learned the most is about myself. I am a passionate learner and that desire to continue my own learning is enabled through connections. I have learned that the connections we make with other educators can be leveraged to make us all better and ultimately, make education better for kids. Building those connections provides support, collaboration, mentorship, friendship, and empowerment. It is a means for creating and improving education for kids and communities. The world is full of incredible ideas and incredible people. This year of connection has given me the confidence and understanding to find new ways to improve education beyond just my little corner of the world.
I am forever different from having created these many connections over the past year. The people with whom I share my ideas, my passions, and my occasional weirdness are like a second family. They inspire me, they have driven me to find a renewed purpose. The many people with whom I collaborate are world-changing.
So why does that matter? Why does it all actually mean anything? The truth is, all of the incredible learning, growth, and enlightenment I have gained from engaging with these amazing educators and people means nothing if it is not a call to action. If I am not following my learning and engaging in what I can to make education better in my school and beyond, then I am wasting so much. My goal now is to empower others to inspire their own experiences, to find their greatness and share it with the world.
One year as a connected educator and I have many things to be grateful for, but truthfully, I have much more to look forward to in the future. Thank you to all of you have engaged with me over the past year, each of you has helped me immeasurably and I hope to pay that gratitude forward over a lifetime.