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Why Is Being Connected Important?

Today was a very busy day.  It actually started last night.  I needed help with an issue, so I texted our Technology Integration Specialist, Karen.  She always knows!  And, like me, she stays up late.  Karen didn't know the answer, but she had an idea for how I might find one.

This morning, I was scheduled to visit another school.  Four of my former students go there.  I drove with a colleague and we were able to talk about some school issues in the car.  At the school, we met with some of their new teachers and learned about their approaches to success.  It was fascinating.

Once back at school, I met with the Dean of Students to discuss a student or two (and drink a little coffee).  She helped me find the words I needed to discuss a tricky matter with a parent. 

I taught class.  More accurately, the students worked on a project after we had a brief class meeting.  I was inspired to undertake this particular project after hearing Adam Bellow speak last week. (I now follow him on Twitter.)  He reminded me that students need to make or create things of value for each and every unit.  This project is taking longer than I thought it would, but the collaboration and revision that I have seen each day is amazing.

After school, I drove across town to watch our soccer team play another school.  I spoke with the mom of one of my students.  She teaches at a juvenile detention center and has been working on advocacy with her students.  It was a great discussion.

As I left the game (we lost), I chatted briefly with our Head of School about the new Innovation Lab at school.  He said he was bringing his metacognition class there tomorrow to work on creating a virtual brain.  I was intrigued.

All of these positive exchanges were a direct result of being connected to other educators.  Without the support, ideas, guidance, experience and artistry of the people I interacted with today, I would have worked harder and had less then stellar results.  

Being connected is important.  It says to the world (and our students) "I am still learning and open to the ideas of others."  It enables us make mistakes, but have the safety net we need just a call, Tweet or room away from someone who can help.  It provides us with ideas no one person could conceive along.  It models collaboration.  

In order to be effective in the classroom, we must connect meaningfully with our students.  I believe this can only be possible when we connect meaningfully with other educators.

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream.  A dream you dream together is a reality."
-John Lennon