I’ve been thinking about connections. With Connected Educator Month coming to a close, many of you might be thinking about it, too. I’ve read chats and tweets about what it means to be connected, and I’ve thought a lot about what being connected has meant to me in learning how to be a better teacher.
My husband had me take the Six Human Needs test designed by Cloe Madanes a few years ago. According to Cloe’s research, we all have two needs that drive us and influence our decisions, behaviors, and actions. Of Significance, Certainty, Uncertainty, Contribution, Connection, Growth, my driving needs are growth and contribution. Learning this was not surprising, and it explains in part why I became an educator, and why I love to help other teachers grow in their practices.
While connection didn’t rise as one of my primary needs. It’s impossible to contribute and grow as a teacher with out connections. I have many.
I connect with my peers in the English department as we talk about the needs of our students, design lesson plans, and try to help students succeed. I connect with my colleagues in other content areas as we meet in faculty meetings, school activities, and crowded hallways.
Then I have my North Star of Texas Writing Project connections, the amazing educators that make up our Teacher Consultants. It’s because of them I am a confident presenter, researcher, writer, and workshop teacher.
Much of my confidence comes from the connections I’ve made on Twitter. Joining chats with my teacher heroes, receiving responses to questions, discussing issues with other professionals with similar challenges, all these connections help me improve the instruction in my room and the relationships with my students.
The relationships I made this past summer at the University of New Hampshire Literacy Institute changed my teacher soul forever. The connections made there gave me hope on more than one occasion. Emily, Erika, and Shana allow me to contribute and grow on a regular basis, and I am grateful for their insights and encouragement in my life. It can be difficult being the only teacher on my campus who believes in the power of a readers/writers workshop classroom. Support from these friends, even as far away as CA, WV, and Brooklyn, NY, comes at the most opportune and significant times. (Of course, the Words with Friends games help our camaraderie, too. What English teacher doesn’t want to beat another one at a word game? BK, join us!)
So today as I reflect on my week of blog posts, comments, and shared goals for students, I am thankful. Thankful for new connections, new friends, and even new challenges as I keep writing, keep sharing, keep trying to change the way I reach the students in my care.
Thanks to all of you, my connected educators.