So this post has been sitting in my drafts for a bit now but having just come back from Connect it reminded me to 1 finish this post and 2 what this post meant.
I hope it doesn’t seem to disjunct as I blend two great events that spurred on these thoughts but here we go.
During connect I was lucky enough to be apart of Fair Chance Learning Igniting Niagara Falls. It was a great night if meeting people and building relationships. As I sat there listening to everyone talk I was reminded of how all our talks seemed to focus on the importance of relationships.
During my Ignite I talked about the power of listening but I included this slide. It was advice that my grade 6 class last year gave for the new year. It was the first card that in loved he most:
Be with people who make you a better person.
A couple of weeks ago i was again lucky enough to be a part of Ontario GAFE summit where I was a part of an amazing group of educators doing a funny demo slam for the amazing Sylvia Duckworth.
It was a lot of fun to meet new people like Jen Giffen and reacquaint myself with amazing friends (Sylvia and Kim). However, what the best part was that it reminded me about friendship. Yes friendship.
I have some really great people in my PLN and I am blessed to have a growing PLN and great friends because of it. I know it is funny but I do feel like my PLN are friends, especiall my Power PLN (stealing Peter Cameron’s reference there). For those that don’t know Peter’s phrase, he calls those that are closely connected his POWER PLN.
For many of us we would consider friends people who are close to us. When I was a kid it would be the ten friends that lived on my block. However, I think with social media our worlds are ever expanding. Those same ten friends, who to be honest, may not really have been your friends, have now moved out to the world around us. To me the people that I watch and interact with everyday are my friends. I have invested time into watching their classrooms and for me that is a powerful connection. It becomes even better when you meet people face to face.
I’ll share one more example, the week before the summit I was blessed to a part of an great discussion with an amazing group of educators who I, for the most part, have never met in real life. The funny part was the conversation was exactly around this very topic, among other things. We started the conversation with the fact you have these followers and how do you connect with everyone. The thing is you can’t. You cannot have the time to talk to each and everyone every single day but at the same time I still feel like that I have a connection with everyone.
Now you may wonder why I think this but to be honest I feel like I have a connection with each person. I’m an extravert at heart and I love each interaction I have on my social media platforms. I feel like when I watch what people share I get a glimpse of who they are. I get a piece of their life and I absolutely love this.
Meeting my PLN thsee past few weeks just reminded me that I have made some really great connections. Connections with people that I would never have met if it wasn’t for being connected. Because of my PLN I am able to go to conferences and build even deeper connections with people that I would never have done.
There have been a lot of talk and reflections after connect but all of them seem to keep coming back to those relationships. And the more I am in teaching the more I see how teaching at its heart is about those connections. As a profession we are a giant tribe of people but at our heart we are areal the same.
I encourage you to think about your relationships. When you get a chance do you cultivate it? How do you stay connected and build relationships?
Sorry for the length of this post and I hope it makes sense but in the end I just want to sat THANK YOU to all of my PLN, those I see on a regular basis and even those I connect through my feed. I love learning from you and no think you are all amazing. I hope to meet every one of you someday but if I don’t, know that you have a friend always in me.