I cannot believe how fast this week has flown. Did you know I’ll be down at TMEA presenting two sessions one by myself and the other with the amazing Amy Burns in a little over two weeks?…Is it February yet? I’m SOOOO excited! it reminds me of how connected I’ve become over the past few years. If I had not taken a leap of faith and attended my first #musedchat a few years ago, I really don’t know if I could have made it through my first few years of teaching and come so far in such a little time. There is no excuse for any educator out there who tries to say they have learned enough. With the added resource of social media, your resources have become endless and ideas for changing and growing are never ending. The amount of educators connected on sites such as Facebook and Twitter are rapidly growing everyday, if you haven’t yet its time to join the bandwagon. I may only see some of my online friends once or twice a year, or in some cases maybe we’ve never met but it feels like we’ve been friends forever sharing our trials, successes, ideas, and just downright funny stories on social media.
I have three reasons I stay connected.
It makes me not afraid to speak up– I am extremely shy in real life (or I can be) but online I speak up and say my mind. It’s my soapbox, its my courage, I find it easier to type than say it. In real life I stand in the background completely content with being the stage manager to my fellow teachers and my students. I would never suggest new ideas in a staff meeting, with social media its normal for me to talk with somebody and bounce ideas off of them without hesitation.
I can get almost instant answers- When’s the last time you sent an email and it came back within 3-5 minutes with a solution that worked perfectly for you? With social media, that happens. I can get many answers to my question from people who have been there and done that and know how to help me.
I have an infinite support system with impartial critiques- Let’s face it, we all go through our hard times and my PLN (Personal learning network) has always been there for me through the good times and bad. I can always turn to my PLN for impartial advice, comfort, support, and to make me smile. Every new teacher needs a PLN to get through.
You have people who are there, who push you to be great and do things you would never have the courage to do on your own. I’ve started great relationships with companies such as Quaver Music and Joytunes, and created friendships with people whom I look up to and consider as mentors such as Amy Burns @awillis2, Joe Pisano @pisanojm, Jim Frankel @jimfrankel, Barb Freedman @MusicEdTech, Richard McCready @ramccready, Julia Jackson McCready @macsmom, Stephanie Sanders @Stephdon,Sarah Mayer @musiced20 and so many more.
Without these people I would have never joined TI:ME (Technology Institute for Music Educators)
Without these people, I would have never started blogging again.
Without these people, I would have never started presenting.
Without these people, I would have never had met some of the people I have met, such as my awesome friends at Quaver Music.
Without these people I would have never been nominated and later voted TI:ME’s Teacher of the Year..Catherine Dwinal:2014 Mike Kovins TI:ME Teacher of the Year
So this is a thank you, for those of you who have stood up for me, to those who have always offered me a smile, an ear to talk to, or a shoulder to cry on. Especially to those who still have faith in me and are not afraid to give me a kick in the pants to help me realize I have reached greatness and it will only become greater from here. I can’t put into exact words my thanks yet, but in 18 more days I will do so at TMEA.
Ready to get connected? Try these first!
Music Teachers Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/musicpln/
Twitter Hashtags: #musedchat, #mused, #musedmot, #mpln
Music Education G+ Community: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/102610005911356159206