For me, these past few weeks have reinforced the notion of the importance of strong relationships to help build both a community of learners and a strong school. This year has been spectacular, with the weather and the school climate. Most students are learning amazing things in and out of the classroom. I have witnessed math class sing-a-longs, PE go cart field trips, musical performances, football, soccer and other sports, all in two months. At the same time, I have reinvigorated my own learning through reading kindle books and participating in twitter chats, as well as connecting with teachers around the world and in my school. I have shared these books with others in my school and look forward to hearing their ideas around assessment, community, connectedness and relationships.
I have worked hard on building relationships within my school and district for several reasons: it helps build the professional capital needed for real change; it creates a diverse network of educators to help refine my thinking around educational issues. The layers of relationships in a school are complicated. There are the few personal relationships; those people that you would invite to your personal celebrations such as weddings, birthdays and family occasions. There are also those professional relationships that lean towards personal; those staff members who you have more personal conversations during the school day. There are also those professional relationships that you have with staff.
With twitter and other social media (google plus, Facebook), the extent of professional relationships has extended globally. I now have a blend of personal and professional relationships with educators round the world. Although most of the conversations are school-based, thre are those glimpses into their personal lives as they tweet pictures or stories about their lives.
This balance between professional and personal can be scary for those new to this social media era (collaborative learning), but the rewards are quite high.