Tuesday, December 2, 2014

P is for PIRATE! Preparation Meets PLN

*This post was written a week or so ago, but I didn't want to post it until the official announcement was out.  Monday night 12-1 Dave and Shelley Burgess announced that P is for Pirate: Inspirational ABC's for Educators was available for sale. Woot! Woot! The book cover is beautiful! I can't wait to see the inside!

I am soooo excited! It was just announced (via DM) that Shelley and Dave Burgess have their ABC book ready to release next week! I can't wait! I was hoping that it'd be ready to be released in time to purchase some copies for Christmas gifts and my wish came true.

I can't help but think about how being a connected educator has brought me so many opportunities- especially since I started using Twitter last June.  I don't think that it's just luck. As Seneca said, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." I've also heard a similar quote using the word, "success" instead of luck. I think that this opportunity of contributing to the "P is for PIRATE...." book came about because of all of my work and preparation.

What did I do to prepare for this and other opportunities that are coming to me? (These ideas are in no particular order.)

1.  Read-  I'm always reading- books, blogs, articles, posts, etc. It was reading an article from Edutopia that led me to Edmodo about four years ago and the rest as they say, is history. Most of what I read is related to the field of education and if it's not related, I'm always making a connection to education in some way.  It's my way of being a life-long learner. The more I read, the more I know, and the more I want to know.

When I found and read Teach Like A Pirate, it spoke to me. It validated everything that I'd been doing my whole teaching career.  I made many personal connections to the text as I read the book.  I never dreamed that I would ever know the author, Dave Burgess. I certainly didn't ever imagine that I'd be collaborating together (even in a small way) on a book.

2.  Connect- When I started using Edmodo, connecting with other educators was an easy, natural practice.  As a newbie, I had several amazing, life-changing experiences of collaborating with other educators across the country and around the world.  Although I still have never met many of my online friends and acquaintances in person, we are friends.  I hope that someday that we can connect face to face. I know that it will be a big, happy family reunion.

It is very empowering to meet and work with amazing educators who are like-minded. I grow professionally in immeasurable ways! My students grow because they benefit from my learning and growth. They also benefit because I'm able to connect them to their peers, across the country, and around the world because of the teachers that I meet online. Connecting on Twitter allows me to connect and grow with a whole network of people on a regular basis. The whole experience is something that I'm unable to describe to other educators. It's something that they will have to experience. Connecting and growing with my PLN is a virtual hug from the most inspiring people in education every single day.  Connecting with people that inspire me places me in a position to connect with even more people and expand my network. Who knows where a connection can lead? I believe that opportunities come my way because I'm a connected educator.

3.  Take-Risks-  As a teacher, I've always been a risk-taker. I've always challenged the status quo and done things a little differently than most teachers.  I'm usually one of the first people to try something new. I may feel a little fear and anxiety to take a risk, but challenge motivates instead of paralyzes me.

 I hate the phrase, "I'm just a teacher." But as a newbie to Twitter, I was "just" a teacher with only a few tweets and few connections to my credit when I reached out to Dave and Shelley. To my thrill and surprise, they not only Followed me, but interacted with me. I felt like I mattered and actually had something to contribute to the conversations. Since then, we've interacted many times. I'm so grateful for their friendship, genuineness, and being down-to-earth. I consider both of them role models and appreciate their enthusiasm and love for education and kids.

I'm sure that all of my hard work also had something to do with my preparation for meeting this particular opportunity.  I admit that I'm a workaholic to the point that I consciously have to plan to have more balance in my life. But reading, connecting, and taking risks is opening doors that I didn't even know existed.  I'm amazed and grateful for the opportunities that are coming to me.  I hope to keep preparing myself for many more.

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