For a long time, my favorite part of my Twitter profile is the line “I connect dots”. What does that mean? For me, it’s the best thing about being connected to a PLN, and learning from loads of brilliant people any time I want. You will learn which people to go to for help or to learn more about specific topics. I’ve never claimed to know everything, and I don’t want to try. I’m also not afraid to tell someone “I don’t know” when someone asks me in person or online about a topic I don’t have the answer to. However, I almost always make sure to follow that up with “But you should talk to _____.” or “I’m happy to help you find the answer.”. That’s what connecting dots is all about; if you can’t give them an answer, then get them to the person that can. Maybe this is a culture thing that teachers, leaders, and professional development providers need to embrace more; rather than seeing it as a negative thing when we have to say “I don’t know”. Sometimes when we don’t know, it marks the start of a great learning experience.
The bottom line is getting teachers just what they need so they can give their students the learning experiences they need. Any new topic I’m learning about or whichever way I’m trying to advance myself professionally is about students at the end of the day. If it’s helping a teacher then it’s helping kids, which is why we all do what we do. We’re educators because we love to learn and we love making learning better for our students. When we get some kind of special recognition for it is it nice? Of course it is. It’s exciting and generally amazing to me that someone thought I was deserving. We all know that’s not why we’re in education though. I also know I’m going to keep connecting dots for others; virtual pats on the back or not.