Monday, August 20, 2012

Reminders as I begin

Today was my first day back in the building full time. The teachers join in the fun officially next week (although many are in organizing and decorating now), and the star players in this place - the students - start on September 5th. I can't wait for the buzz of laughter and excitement in the hallways again. It is dreadfully boring to work in a school during the summer.

So now that I am officially back, I am beginning to put rubber to the road. I need to step out of this theory and philosophy discussion of connected education and move into the practical ways I will use this with my faculty, staff, and students.  With this clean slate and a full bag of thoughts, I am reminded of several truths:

1. Baby steps. I love this quote by Joe Girard, the World's Greatest Salesman: "The elevator to success is out of order. You'll have to use the step at a time." I do not need to incorporate a million ways to be connected or use a ton of tools to engage my students. I need to start small - but keep moving, one step and a time, in order to be successful.

2. Focus on the CONNECTEDNESS - not the tools. This applies to both my teachers and students. I am considering some basic ways to encourage teachers to connect and share best practices with one another that do not involve technology at all. We can ease into technology use after we get a conversation started.

3. No man is an island. I am not traveling this road by myself. I met for lunch with two fellow English teachers who have also been on a "connected educator" journey this summer. We shared ideas but also shared fears and frustrations. It is always helpful to know that we are not experiencing any of this alone. Reach out and talk about it -- the good and the bad.

Here I go! I'm stepping out and trying new ideas all with the goal of engaging and encouraging students to become life-long learners. I look forward to June 2013 when I will reflect on the year and see all that has been accomplished if I remember my ultimate goal and the these reminders.

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