Connecting for the Greater Good
Anyone who knows me understands the value that I place on being a connected educator. I’ve blogged (and even sang) about this several times before, and my growth over the past year and a half has been exponential thanks to my growing PLN. I believe that sharing is crucial in order to grow, and connecting with educators around the world who “get me” has enabled to me to share more than ever. They’ve grown my confidence, supported me, challenged me, pushed me further, and have opened doors and helped me to create new and better opportunities for myself and for my students. Although I very much value the role that my “online PLN” provides for me, I’m also more than grateful to be surrounded by people every single day who share the same values and vision as I do. I never have to look very far to get inspired and the educators in my building are constantly making me better. BUT, what I’ve come to realize this year is that even though I am directly working with these amazing people every single day, it is super hard to find time to connect with them face-to-face. My school is big, with over 600 students and nearly 30 classes, I don’t get to see most teachers often. Our plates are beyond full with starting up this brand new school this year and I know that I haven’t been eating lunch in the staff room nearly as often as I would like to, preventing me from chatting with my colleagues and delving deeper into their passions. Thankfully, there has been another way for me to connect with all of these wonderful people! Surely, most of you reading this know where I’m going with this…
This is our school hashtag. This hashtag was started last year, probably sometime around April when George Couros came to speak to our newly hired staff. I cannot tell you how much I love having a school hashtag, which provides so many positives! Yes, it’s a wonderful way to share information with the world, but it’s also a powerful tool to help me feel connected to all of the amazing people who call École Sage Creek School home. I love checking out Twitter and always find myself going back to our school hashtag. Here, I get a glimpse of what’s going on around the school and am able to make mental notes about it all. Then, when I cross people in the hall, it’s so much easier to send a quick positive their way by referencing what incredible things they’re doing. Things that, without social media and without our school hashtag, I would have no idea about! I also love the inspiration that it gives. It’s fun to see new and innovative ideas happening right in my own building, some of which I can easily take and modify to fit the needs of my students. And what’s best? If I need a little bit more info about how that activity went, I just have to walk down to that teacher’s classroom and ask some questions! Beautiful and simple!
I’m also thankful that, if I don’t have the opportunity to tell a colleague of mine face-to-face that I think their newest activity was super cool, it’s easy for me to share my thoughts with them right on Twitter. We all have hard days, and a little encouragement can go a long way, so providing that feedback when I’m checking the hashtag before bed is a great way to do that. As George Couros so beautifully says “we have to make the positive so loud that the negative becomes almost impossible to hear”.
I’m sure that as the year goes on, I’ll find even more reasons why I love having a school hashtag, and although I’ve really only touched on my personal reasons why I love it, there are also countless positives for students and members of the community, too! I’d love to hear your thoughts on school hashtags. Do you have one? How do you use it? What works well? Anything that is more difficult? And don’t forget to check out #SageCreekLRSD, where amazing things are happening daily! 🙂