What Does It Mean To Be Connected?

If you have not investigated YourEdustory – then you are missing out!  This darn graduate work has taken its toll on my blogging this semester and this space feels strangely neglected.  I have recently eeked out a couple of blogs based on some topics from class – but not written of my own free will in quite awhile.   Writing on my blog is important to me, I never thought I would feel this way.  I have grown accustomed to sharing my thoughts and ideas in the modest hope that something will trigger a small change here or there and impact students in the most amazing ways.

Back to YourEdustory – prompts for teachers by teachers to encourage blogging.  Remember, if you don’t share what you do, then you are letting others “assume” what is going on in your schools and classrooms.  If you don’t speak up for yourself, then that is a story that remains hidden from view.

The current prompt is very important in our modern day obsession with social media:

What does being “connected” mean to you?

When I was a new teacher, I was “connected” to the people in my building.  I had no school email.  I had AOL, but was still trying to figure out those darn chat rooms.  Forget using that stuff as a teacher!

The people that I was connected to, were people who poured into me, people I saw everyday.  They gave me ideas to try.  They helped me grow as a teacher.  New teachers that I was hired with, we helped each other!  We were connected through our struggles that first year.

I am still connected to Kevin, a high school English teacher in Edmond.  We were in the same hiring class at Guthrie High School in 1997.  Although time took us in different places, then back together, then into different spaces again – we remain connected!  I know that I can call Kev at two in the morning, although he may not answer….

Move forward to just a couple of years ago when I truly discovered how Twitter could be used by a teacher.  HOLY COW!  My level of connectedness started growing by factors of ten.  It led to opportunities to connect with Kas Nelson and Todd Garrison and Anthony Purcell!  There are so many others, I don’t want to offend by not listing them (they reside in #oklaed and are the most amazing people)…But I am connected!  I learn from people in other cities, other states, other countries!

So what does connected mean?  To me – relationships.  Its how we grow and get better as people and as teachers.  Its how we make a such a tremendous difference in the lives of our students.  It is the opportunity to look outside of the place that we reside, to knock down the walls that we view as barriers.  To reach out for new ideas, to get great feedback on struggles, to pour into each other!

–Scott

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