This week at ISTE has been one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life. When I think back to who I was before becoming the “me” that I am now, it makes me even prouder. You see…two years ago, this ISTE experience wasn’t possible…at least in my eyes. I was a teacher who would go to conferences and either sit in the back or somewhere hidden in the shadows of every other attendee. I knew that I was doing great things in my classroom but I did not think that I was capable of sharing outside of the small trainings that I did at home. I did not think that what I had to say was of value outside of my spaces of comfort.
Two years ago, this IGNITE speech (as captured by Carrie Ross) that I shared about “sharing” would not have happened.
The Power of a PLN
I will be the first person to say that “getting connected” isn’t a part of “Edu-babble” but something that can make a huge difference in the lives of many. I am the “me” that I am now because of the connections that I have made along the way. It’s not like I just woke up one day and said…”I’m going to be an active participant in the global education space”. I had to come full circle and understand that I am a part of that global education space and owning that idea was critical. For me, it was about making connections with people who didn’t just share in one direction but who believed in constantly pulling others in.
Along my journey of growth, people encouraged me to share in spaces like my local technology conference, other school districts and even ISTE. Yes, a PLN is about learning but a PLN is also about building each other up and supporting one another to be the best of who we all can be. It’s not about following the ideas of one but on drawing upon the strength, beliefs and knowledge of many.
Being connected helped me to realize that not only were my ideas valid but also critically important to share and not because they were always right but because they were mine.
When I shared Braeden’s story during the Ignite, I did it for him but I also did it for my former silent self. Braeden used youtube and art to find his voice. I used twitter and a solid pedagogical understanding to find mine.
The silent me is a distant memory.
In her place is a confident teacher…determined to empower others to relinquish their hold on their silent selves too.
In the words of Braeden…
What will you learn? What will you create? How will you share it?
The world is waiting to learn from you.