Note: This is part of a series of reflective posts that form part of a university course that I am taking. I hope that you will find something valuable in my reflections as well.
I love working with others. It's where I do my best thinking and idea generating. I also love working alone; alone, I will dig deep into topics, learning about the nuances and intricacies of the things that fascinate me, gathering links and resources that I think others may find useful. Both allow me to be connected to other educators and experts in their field, in very different ways, with very different requirements in order for me to feel successful. Being connected to other educators around the globe keeps your thinking fresh and your teaching alive; without it, we tend to repeat the same lessons and the same patterns, stagnating in our own little ponds without the benefit of an influx of new ideas that might challenge us to venture further afield.
What does being a connected educator look like? Let me break it down for you...
A connected educator is...
No one way of connecting and learning is right for everyone; nor, as I noted above, is one person necessarily going to prefer one over the other all the time. In her book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking" Susan Cain notes that introverts often do well learning and communicating online because the platform allows for more time to think and prepare one's thoughts than a live environment, where extroverts often dominate the conversation. Knowing your own learning style (or styles) helps you to decide which one works better for you when. For me, generating new ideas, planning lessons and debating educational topics is best done face to face with others, gathered comfortably with a tea and plenty of space to spread out; I prefer to dig deeply into topics, whether online or in a book, alone, where I can process my thoughts and begin to think about how to apply that learning to new situations.
No matter how you choose to learn, connection has shown itself to be more important now than ever before. The pandemic has shown us how much we, as human beings, value connection and seek it out; while it has kept us from connecting in real life, it has opened up new ways of connecting that we never before imagined. Being able to attend a conference in India (TIES, hosted by Toddle) or Alberta (ReLit with Dr Jody Carrington) was once out of reach but is now completely accessible thanks to the power of the digital world and the human drive to connect. Keep seeking out these opportunities, as well as opportunities in real life, in order stay fresh and stay connected.
I'm Bryn, teacher, mom, book lover, athlete. I am passionate about living life with my family, teaching and learning something new all the time. I hope you find something that speaks to you here on my blog and would love to hear from you too!