My granny always said, “You are the company you keep.” Today, I have been in a room filled with greatness with my North Carolina Digital Leadership Coaching Network though the Friday Institute at NCSTATE. Sometimes, I pinch myself wondering how I ended up there. As a person who seems to be, “the talker in the group,” I love sitting in among people who have so much more to share. I admit, in the beginning, it was a little intimidating. The people around me were throwing out buzz words, books, and methods that I had never heard of. When working on google suite, they would have something drawn, linked and shared before I could figure out what was going on. The could throw out apps and extensions I didn’t know existed. My first thought was, I am out of my league. I have found myself just sitting and listening more than ever.
I quickly noticed that even though I didn’t quite know the terminology mentioned, they seemed to have a common love and desire for good teaching students and teachers. I learned that this was a good time for me to listen and put the pencil to paper. It is a remarkable feeling to be in a room full of people you want to learn from. At times, my pen couldn’t keep up and I just had to soak it in. Through conversations, break out sessions, and numerous beautiful group posters….I learned quite a bit. Here are a few things I felt should be shared.
Relationships – It does not matter what degree you have if you can not work with people. Relationships are everything. No one cares a hill of beans about your research if you don’t seem to care about the humans you work with. This applies to students and adults. Identify with the person first and then find ways to be helpful. It takes me back to one of Sean Covey’s seven habits, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” As a newbie in my school last year, I had a certain comfort level. Although comfort was nice, I could not move forward with out really getting to know my staff.
Programs do not Replace People – In education, people are our most valuable resources. There is no program that is going to transform our practices and children. As educators, we must keep in mind that it takes all hands on deck to ensure best learning environments for our children. In the same hand, we must do all that we can to know how students learn and thoroughly understand what they need to know while under our care.
Technology is Not Just One More Thing – Friend, technology is here. It is not going anywhere. If you feel that there is no room for technology in your classroom, then you may be on the wrong train. It is a language of efficiency and creativity that we must learn to use ourselves and model for our students. They already speak the language, and know that the world is at their fingertips. We all need to work on curating what is great in the tech world and what could help students understand and experience concepts better. Virtual reality comes to mind. Remember when you could only experience the coral reef through images in textbooks or in real life? Now through this tech tool, students can experience the coral reef in your classroom.
These are just a few things I have taken away from my experiences with the #ncdlcn. I am thankful for these friendships and look forward to forging forward with these remarkable humans. Today I left with a little bit of “brain hurt.” I hope you can find others that give you that same feeling after a day of collaboration.
Questions to ponder:
How could you improve relationships with your learning community?
What can you do to better understand who and what you teach?
How can you utilize technology to control your digital narrative and perhaps make your life a little easier?