Since I started on Twitter a month ago, I have found so many wonderful people to add to my PLN. They have posted articles blogs, research and, more importantly, they have been inspiring. Their enthusiasm, their love for learning, their passion and their generosity have been infectious.
I have been very fortunate to build very strong relationships with some of the teachers from my previous schools – both personally and professionally. And, by strong, I mean that we trust each other. We can take risks together and share what happened without the fear of being judged. We know we are there to support each other. We know each others passions; we know our strengths; and we know areas that we may want to work to improve. We can talk about things, share ideas, and inspire each other. We get excited about learning and sharing what we’ve learned.
Me being an “administrator” is not a hinderance to our relationship. Some people may feel administrators are trying to “push” things on them when things are suggested or things are shared. Because of the relationship we have formed, the teachers know that I am not “pushing” anything, but merely sharing exciting learning ideas and opportunities. They trust me. They trust that I am just sharing and there is no ulterior motive at all. And, I trust that they aren’t going to think I’m crazy for being so excited about learning.
I remember when one of these staff members first got her ipod Touch. There we were, in my office, all excited about this new-to-us technology – watching a Ted-Talk by Sir Ken Robinson. It was great when I was able to share Sir Ken’s book that I had in my office cupboard. Connections. It’s all about connections. Connections and relationships. And learning. And growing. And passion. And enthusiasm. And sharing.
So, over the past month, when I would come across something that would get me excited (which has happened a lot), I would think of a few staff members and then send them the wonderful things that I found. Everyone didn’t get the same items shared with them, each of the things I shared was based on what I knew about that person and our previous conversations. With one staff member, I would share things about personalized learning and choice. With another staff member, I would share things about literacy. With both, I would share wonderful new tech tools I had just learned about.
Of course, with my being on maternity leave since December 18, 2010, and with them just starting their summer vacation, you may thing their enthusiasm would be somewhat less than mine. A month ago, they were on wind-down mode and I was on gear-up mode. But that is not the case at all. One of the staff members and I attended much of the Reform Symposium together online. Then, we talked online about what we saw, shared things about sessions the other was unable to attend. We also talked on the phone about what we saw/heard/learned/experienced. On Sunday evening, when the Reform Symposium was all over, I think we were both in a bit of denial that it was all over. We must have talked on the phone for over an hour about the symposium.
A message I received on Facebook tonight is what prompted this post. One of my colleagues I mentioned earlier has been away in Europe for the past month. I knew that she was gone on vacation, but I continued sending her things that I thought she would be excited about, always saying at the end of the message that she should just leave these messages until September when she was back to work. Just enjoy your vacation now. After a month away, she returned home from Europe last night (with her inbox full of everything I’ve sent her), and tonight I receive the email,
“OK, I’m ready !!! Where should I start…your blog ??”
Now, that’s what it’s all about! That is learning at it’s finest! I am thrilled that I have had the opportunity to work with such wonderful people and professionals. I am thrilled that I have had the opportunity to develop trusting relationships with these people. I am thrilled that we are continuing to share ideas. I look forward to continuing the learning together.
I am going to miss working with them next year.
I just think about all we could have done together. Continued together. Started together. Learned together. I think of the difference we could have made together.
I know that we will continue to make that difference. We’ll just be collaborating with each other from different schools.
I want to thank them for their patience, their dedication, their enthusiasm, their love of learning, and their “geek-ness”. 😀 (inside joke)
Without our relationships, we would not be the learners (and educators) we are today or will be in the future. Thank you.
It is my hope that all administrators would realize the importance, both personally and professionally, of building these strong, caring, trusting relationships. Without relationships, you really have nothing and can go no where.