Sunday, March 29, 2015

Making Connections

Day One of Staycation, Spring Break 2015:

I had the opportunity to visit my friend's business that they own. It was grown from the roots on up with hard work, grit and pure resilience in spite of other circumstances and it is flourishing. The joy for what they do is very obvious and my friend is clever and ingenious with a beautiful touch of endearing nerdy passion for their GENIUS.
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I don't have many friends who are not educators nor do I dig deep to learn more about what they do and to see them in action, so when I invited myself over I was excited to see what I would learn.

I was not prepared for the one thing that was a game changer for me.

The Rolodex. A beautiful reminder that it is all about connections.

Before the rise of social media and promoting your business through blogs, Twitter, Face Book, Twitter, Google +, people met people over coffee and talked face to face, business contacts were kept there. Business people have long been connected. They know who to reach out to to help to make their business successful.

I have been teaching since 1994, I can still see the ditto machine on the counter, placed there when the new Risso machine came to the work room and joy broke out!

What I CAN'T see are connected educators. Not like what business people have been doing for ages. Not in teaching. It had been just shut the door and teach with small efforts made to be interactive among staff in the school, connecting with educators at district meetings, but not to collaborate your classrooms, with innovative teachers being those who sought paper pen-pals for the class to write and send mail to.

That was 1994. This is now.

The rise of the connected educator is actually us getting a clue and coming out of the dark. It is stepping out of what had been our closed doors and now not just breaking down the walls in our schools but busting out from the walls of the buildings we educate in.

The rise of the connected educator is having friends who teach around the world and that you can contact at the click of the button. It is meeting up with members of your Minnesota PLN that is dynamic and diverse. It is knowing which educators are coming into town for meetings and gathering the gang to get together. It is celebrating successes that are made by each other in the trenches we are in and flying the flag high for one another.

The rise of the connected educator is having multiple ways to get in touch with someone.

I sent you a Vox,
an email,
a tweet.

I have Facebook-ed,
called you,
and texted you.
We are even LinkedIn.

I can GHO with you, Skype with you and now I can Periscope with you.
I can follow your class on Instagram and read your blogs. I read your books.
I follow you on your YouTube channel. I watch your TouchCasts.
I go to conferences because I know you will be there.

YOU MAKE ME A BETTER EDUCATOR AND PERSON!

I know you better than I know people in my family and I am closer to you than a relatives in many cases. We talk every day. It is building a relationship.

I have laughed with you.
Cried with you.
Celebrated with you.
Worried and prayed with you.

If that is not a connected educator, what is?

I was thinking all this when I saw the Rolodex on the desk, well used and filled with connections made over many years. 

We as education professionals, are late to the show. Businesses have been way ahead of the game.
To be successful in business, you make connections. To be successful in the education field, you make connections.

Then you teach your students how to make connections. That's what it is all about. That is what we want for our students to learn because they too will go out past the walls and need to make connections in whatever profession or job they have. Let's teach them how.

To my friend with the Rolodex, thank you. I want to be just like you. You Matter.