What if this is not enough?
As I am waiting for the Connected Educators Monthly Meetup #CEMM that is happening tonight, I am going through the questions our host Michael Sinclair has shared with me and other panelists.
The very first question took me down the memory lane: If you have made an effort to make connections with others, what was the catalyst for you?
I honestly couldn't remember at first because it all seems so natural now but then it hit me: I needed to know if I was doing enough for my students. After almost 20 years of teaching, leading a team of teachers and following my intuition, I was hungry for feedback from teachers outside my community.
The year was 2015, my fist international conference organised by CEESA. Four days of interaction with over 400 educators, unbelievable exchange of ideas & missteps teachers openly shared so that some kids in another classroom wouldn't waste 6 months on a project that turned out to be a bad choice. Coffee breaks that were just as exciting as the sessions. Most of all, the passion that was shared was contagious.
After those four days, I clearly remember the feeling, I had been changed forever.
Being the only teacher that didn't work in an American international school there, I also finally got proof that my instincts were right and that the method I implemented in my school made sense to teachers who worked in different cultural environment, various sizes of schools and classrooms. That was a great relief. It also made it clear that not only can I learn a lot in an international environment but I can also contribute.
The first rule of joining a community is to offer your knowledge and strengths to others selflessly.
It was then that I created my Twitter account and started discovering its wonders. One connection led to another, one talk led to an online collaboration and soon enough it had life of its own. Since then I have participated in numerous conferences as a presenter, helped recreate EdChange Global online conference and finally co-organised #CEduAD with the best team one can hope for.
It is beyond anything I ever expected. It has taught me more about what education can be than anything I had learned at the University. My CEduAD team is wind in my wings when I am tired and my ultimate adviser when I'm in uncharted waters. We have joined our skills, fields of expertise and taught one another steps we couldn't find on our own.
Do not underestimate the value of friendship that grows in virtual universe.
It is just as real as any other. And it brings you closer to your students who have no doubts about it in the first place.