Saturday, January 13, 2018

PLN in Real Life!

Before I got on Twitter, I could never understand how PLN connections could grow so strong. We're only interacting over the computer, right? In the past year and a half, I have had my mind blown and world expanded as I have truly made friends from all over the world.

Lunch with friends - PLN IRL :-)
This past week, I was able to take a vacation to visit some of my PLN friends in real life!

The short story: It was amazing!

The longer story: Over the past year or so, @msventurnio@meagan_e_kelly, and I have built a friendship on Twitter. It began with holding each other accountable to having a better work-life balance, and has blossomed into so much more! They have been an amazing support system for me as we all navigate both life and a career in education.

When Mari mentioned that she had an extra ticket to Hamilton, I half-jokingly asked if I could fly out and see it with her. The joke quickly became reality, and we planed a trip for me to come visit for a few days! Along with the show, we enjoyed going to the zoo, the beach (well, sort of, as it was rainy), and just hanging out together.

Hamilton - if you get the chance,
DEFINITELY go see this show!
Zoo! Animals!

Here's the thing: I get that it's a little weird to fly to a different state to hang out with someone you've never actually met before. And I know it's important to teach our kids to be safe and cautious online. But I never want us to be so fearful of the bad that we miss out on the powerful good that can come through connecting! The conversations I have had through my PLN have completely enriched my life as an educator and as a person. I wouldn't trade it for the world! Every time I go to a conference, I enjoy meeting people who I have interacted with online, and deepening our relationship.

PLN friendships are real. Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise. I came back from this trip feeling so refreshed - partially because I was on vacation, but also because I was able to relax and hang out with friends (thank you so much for hosting me, Mari!). I'm grateful for all of my PLN friends and look forward to meeting many more of you over the years - but, at the same time, I know that our friendships are already strong because of what we do every day!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

#oneword2018: Integrity


A person of integrity walks the talk
and keeps her word regardless of the consequences.

(Definition from FOCUS International)

If there's anything I've learned through my leadership journey of the past year, it is that sometimes doing the right thing is hard. I've thought a lot about how positions of leadership come with great responsibility, because leaders have the potential to impact lots of people through their actions. I have also felt a temptation at times to back down, to disengage, or to put my head down and move along rather than truly living out my values.

Are your words and actions matching up with who you want to be?

I have had this sticky note posted on my computer for awhile now, and it is constantly challenging me. As I considered my #oneword2018, the theme that kept sticking out was to be a person of integrity, and to make the right choices in both big and small things this year. I know I won't be perfect, but I want to focus on making sure my words and actions line up with who I want to be. Please feel free to hold me accountable and join me in this journey!