Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Connected Educator

We hear a lot today about the need for educators to be connected. Often that refers to being connected with people through social media or online. But it is just as important (or more important) to be connected with those we work with in our building and our school community. The more people we are connected with, the more we can learn, share, and grow. There is a saying that the smartest person in the room is the room. Translation: We are all better together and we all have something to learn from one another.

One of the common misconceptions about being connected with others is that somehow we are more connected when we have more followers on social media or readers for our blogs or people we know at conferences. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy having people ready my tweets and blog and meeting up with friends at conferences, but that does not relate to being connected. A true connected educator is one who interacts BOTH ways with people. I'm going to share two good examples of "connected educators".

The first is George Couros. I began following George on Twitter about a year before I met him. When he came to speak at the MEMSPA winter conference, I was impressed at how friendly he was. In fact he came to several of the social events and during the dinner, he sat at one of the back tables with me. I was surprised he wasn't at a special "speakers" table. I had several conversations with him during the conference and also exchanged several emails over educational issues during the next year before we met again when he presented at our district Level Up PD. What was amazing to me was that with over 100,000 followers on Twitter and having authored The Innovator's Mindset, he still felt it was important to connect, share, and collaborate with educators. He makes it a point to follow people back, share their stories and help where he can. With George it's not about me, me,'s about we, we, we.  (I had the urge to say "all the way home" after that)

The second example of a truly connected educator is Dave Burgess. I was first introduced to Dave when I read Teach Like a Pirate. I wanted to know what all the buzz was about that I was hearing on Twitter. That book was a huge influence on me and my practice. I started participating in the weekly #tlap chat and still remember excitedly telling my wife when Dave Burgess followed me on Twitter. But it was more than just following back. Dave would comment on blog posts, send emails, and then I met him in person. He didn't disappoint. It wasn't so much his presentation, which was incredible, but it was his way to talking with me in his easy going manner. Dave is a great example of a connected educator who isn't just about promoting his material, but sharing and supporting other educators whether in person or online.

In the past twenty years, I have come across many "connected educators". Some of them are authors and keynote speakers who travel the world and some are people that have never presented outside of their school. Being connected means collaborating with, sharing with, and listening to others. It's about being a continuous learner and also sharing what you have learned with others. Being a connected educator is a challenge I pose to all educators, whether you are a first year teacher or a 30 year veteran. We all have something to learn and we all have something to share!

Image Credit: Sylvia Duckworth 


"Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else." Margaret Mead

"I can resist everything except temptation." - Oscar Wilde

"My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them." - Mitch Hedberg

It's funny, because it's true! 


Monday, November 21: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05-9:20 am
                                       Administrative Meeting (Building Utilization) 1:30 pm
Wednesday, November 23 - Friday, November 25: Thanksgiving Break!

Monday, November 28: Student of the Month Assembly 9:05-9:25 am
Wednesday, November 30: Principal Advisory/School Improvement Meeting 8:20 am
Thursday, December 1: Staff Meeting 8:05 am
                                      PTA Popcorn Sales
                                      Lifetouch Picture Retakes at 1:00 pm
Friday, December 2: No School (Records Day - Optional Report Day)

Friday, December 9: Report Cards go home


Dave Burgess

George Couros

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