Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tales From The Coffee Shop: Connected Educators Month Reflection

It is no unusual thing in my life to walk up and talk to people, I can talk all day long to people I don't know. Being outgoing, an extrovert, a teacher,  and a both a teacher's and missionary's kid can make me do things like that at a drop of the hat without second guessing myself.

So as I was doing some edhacking with a fellow colleague of mine, we needed a green screen. As I don't travel with a green screen, we looked for a wall that was green, tried the chair that was green and eventually, I asked a guy with a green sweater if we could borrow his back. Yes, I did that.

He said yes, as he eyed me with one eye (and probably wondered if there was something in my coffee)! It worked and politely I thanked him and walked away.

Later, just before I left the coffee shop, I stopped by to thank him and explain more to him about my favorite app, Touch Cast Pro and how I use it and he was intrigued.

Then the sadness came. He said he was a educator too and he wanted to be out of the profession. He was washed up, exhausted from all the mandates and political mumbo-jumbo.

Being the connected educator missionary that I am, I told him of Voxer, Twitter and #tlap and how at one point, I had been him. I too had had the feeling of being lost on Exile Island and with no hope.

Hope. We all needed it and we find it as educators in being connected. 

Perhaps that is why Twitter first intrigued me. People I had not yet met came my way and I learned from them, the full manifestation of this emerged when the people left the Twittersphere and true connections were made and friendships were formed.

Then the Exile Island that sometimes I felt I lived on  was suddenly inhabited! Whether it was reading blogs from my PLN, or their books, joining GHOs and HOAs and using Google + as a resource everyday became a new treat. There was always a new nugget of learning coming my way.

I learned about standard based grading, maker spaces, genius hour, new Google-ly things and the wonderful world of app smashing. I have learned about apps, tons of as in a tree filled with bright red apples kind of apps where the boughs are drooping because there are so many.

Now, there is the world of Voxer in my life, to add to the joy of learning. Voxer is like talking in the hallways during a class for me. An authentic voice that connects me with a person that is in my life to push me to become a better educator.

Whether it is driving across the country for an #edcamp and staying overnight with a friend from your PLN, or doing a Tweetup with the #mnlead gang at various places in the Twin Cities or flipping my Facebook into more of a educator's POV, life is really beautiful as a learner.

There is hope for all educators out there who feel like this person with the green sweater at the coffee shop, but it takes us, those who are in the field to come along side of them and share with them our story and bring hope their way. Sometimes it is just one person, one story, one inspirational moment to speak life into someone else.

 Isn't that what we are born to do? 
To speak life?

So, now I am from time to time on Exile Island, but it is just a "game" we play in my #mnlead & Minnesota Educators Chat On Voxer when we go over our 2 minute standard vox..or some dogs decide to hack your Voxer and vox for 15 minutes without you having any clue. (Yes, that happened...#dogswhouseipads).

I close this post with a heart of gratitude to you, my friends in my PLN whatever way I learn with you. Thank you for coming along side of me and for giving me hope, help, inspiration and friendship. I truly am blessed because of you.