In case you haven't heard, it is Connected Educator Month. Chances are that you have, in fact, heard about it and have also seen many posts about how important it is to be a connected educator. You have probably even read numerous posts about how to become more connected. Last night, #KinderChat had an entire chat devoted to the importance of being connected and the difference it makes in the classroom. (Here are the archives for that fantastic chat in case you missed it.) Throughout much of the chat, teachers discussed the importance of connecting globally as this is often what we think of when we think of being a connected educator.
During the chat, however, @sj_bartlett made a very good point. She tweeted, "The fact that twitter is constant does force you to be conscious of finding that balance between local and global connections." With the overwhelming amount of information and connectedness available through Twitter and other social media sites, it is easy to get wrapped up in the online world and online connections. This tweet caused me to reflect on the importance of finding educators near me who impact me, challenge me, and inspire me.
I have found that seeking out similarly-minded educators locally is not necessarily an easy process just because they are nearby. They may not eat lunch with me, teach on the same team with me, or even be in the same building as me. Getting together to discuss, collaborate, question, brainstorm, and sometimes even debate can be difficult due to different schedules. Regardless of the difficulties, it is worth it to find these people. There is great value in those relationships. Conversations with these educators result in me becoming a better, more engaged teacher. Discussing the reasons behind my decisions forces me to be aware of and evaluate the educational choices I make throughout the day. Additionally, their enthusiasm and curiosity spark my enthusiasm and curiosity. Their great ideas fuel my great ideas.
As we focus on being connected educators this month, I encourage you to branch out and seek people in your district with whom you can connect.