Sunday, 9 November 2014

SAVMP Year Two - “What are some ways you connect with your school community?”

It is good to be writing again in the SAVMP community. Thanks Amber for giving us our first prompt. “What are some ways you connect with your school community?”

I have just come back from a great Ontario conference - ECOO 2014 in Niagara Falls.  The conference was wonderful and I learned a great deal.  I think what was most important however was connecting to the learning community that I have developed through working on the organization of the conference.  I also connected with people I follow on Twitter and again I was touched by the power of connecting to others.

At ECOO and earlier at the GAFE Summit here in Ottawa, I had the chance to listen to keynotes by George Couros.  I really like George - he knows lots of cool stuff and gives excellent talks.  After listening to him a bunch of times over the past month, my main take away from his talks is the importance of connecting to others.  He has this wonderful video where a retiring teacher is celebrated by generations of students.  It is really touching, no one talks about how many apps they learned from this teacher or even the way she taught.  They all talked about how she had touched their lives in unique ways.  One woman told a story  about singing a song in her class when she was a child,  her teacher loved it so much she encouraged her to visit the other classes in the school to share her wonderful song - what a great story!  Real connections remain strong always.

Connecting to your school community can be done through social media, but that is such a small part of the story.  I think I am known for being a strong proponent of digital forms of communication and I certainly spend enough time blogging, tweeting and googling.

But, now I am in a new school community and I am thinking every day on how I can connect to this wonderful community.  While all the forms of social media are important, I know that what is most important.

It is most important to get to know everyone in our community - the staff, the students, the parents and the wider community.  I know I am doing my best work when I am simply being with other people, learning their names and learning more about their families and their lives.

A very wise principal once said that every day he started out by talking to each staff member in his building.  That is how he started his day.  Whatever else happened for the rest of the day, everyone would know that they had a moment to connect to another person.

This will be my centering question for this week.  I have been away for four days and I really need to get back into the school and really reconnect.  What will be the quality of my connections with people in the coming week?  Will I make it a priority to reconnect and listen to people?  Will I put aside the mounds of paperwork that has accumulated during my absence and make it my priority just to be with all these great people?

These are my questions to myself this week.  Focus on the person, focus on the building of relationships - everything follows from that.

Have a great week everyone!

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