The power of being connected

My body was tired and I was not looking forward to the drive. I was worried I would not be in the office in case something important came up. I was stressed about planning for the school’s opening. All of these were the thoughts and feelings I experienced prior to attending this year’s NAESP conference. I was simply overwhelmed.

I showed up to the conference with an open mind, knowing that I would meet in person some of the voices I listen to on my way to work every morning.  A group called my PLN.  Most of them with many years of experience and proven success as leaders.  I was nervous about our reactions and introductions in person.  But then something magical happened…

As I entered the room of the Edcamp session I heard familiar voices and saw the faces of the people who have secretly made me a better principal this year. Throughout the week, I joined them in sessions, had lunch, and connected in a way I had not experienced before.  My anxiety about the things than can wait diminished. I felt so fortunate to sit there knowing my learning would not stop with the sessions.  You know why? Because some of those great presenters are now considered friends.  I can reach out to them with questions and ask for support. They are part of my leadership in many ways!

make me better

It was during our last day together that I realized how blessed I am.  As I looked around I could not help but absorb how lucky I am as a new principal. Many educators do not get to experience this feeling due to being resistant to the use of social media and tools like Voxer. Oh how much have they missed! What they don’t understand is that by being connected my students and staff will benefit from these relationships.  I am better because of them. I have a support group like no other. 

Mark French asked what would happen if our PLN got together and led in the same district. I am sure it would be Pleaseantville School District. No doubt about it! However, I know the chances of that are slim. But as I reflect, I can’t help but think…What would happen if principals in every school district became connected leaders?  Wouldn’t our schools be better?  What if principals got together the way we did to celebrate each other instead of hiding their school’s practices to keep success to themselves?  What if we put our egos aside and became vulnerable about our challenges, letting others present us with solutions that can help our schools become better? What if we took a minute to be real people and have fun at the same table?

Together

This week I learned a lot, but I must say I was awarded the golden ticket to the most powerful PD session ever: doing life with my PLN. And while that was not listed on the app for the conference, I must say that because of the time with them, everyday exceeded my expectations.  My school will now be better because I am bringing ideas from experts who believe in this crazy vision of delivering magical moments for kids! 

Always Learning,

Lynn

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