Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Connections: Take Your Own #EduTour

I've been dreading this post for a while. Trying to sum up all of my thoughts on the EduTour does not seem like something I can do in a post. There were so many great things that I could write about, I would hate to leave anything out. With school starting today, this post seem to be a bit easier for me. Something cleared up and I felt like I had something to say. 

The goal of the EduTour was to get out and meet people. I wanted to have conversations with people I would never have a chance to talk to face to face. In this aspect, the EduTour was a huge success. I was able to meet people and talk to them. I learned some new things and had a great time talking. 

However, there was more to the trip than I realized. I didn't just meet people and talk to them, I made meaningful connections. I was able to hear about the problems that others face in their classrooms and engage them in problem solving. I connected with people in a way that is not possible online. Online is a great place to start a conversation, but face to face takes it to a whole other level. 

This level of connection was something that was a pleasant surprise. I have these great connections with people from Detroit to San Francisco. There are people I can now turn to when I have questions or need some support. I would not trade this experience for anything in the world. These connections will make me a better person and a better educator. 

Another great part of the EduTour was the fact that people were following us using social media. It was a great way for friends, new and old, to support Tim and I as we drove across the country. We were sent funny messages, pictures, music suggestions and other bits of information to keep us occupied during long stretches in the car. Social Media allowed us to stay connected with the amazing  people we have met over the years and that made the trip a little more special. 

It would be awesome if every educator could jump in the car with the best buddy and drive around the country. There is so much to learn outside of our comfort zone if we get up and go. I propose a challenge to all of the educators out there; take an EduTour of your school or district. 

Find a way to take a visit across your school or your district and connect with teachers in other departments and buildings. Your EduTour can be done over the course of the school year and you can make wonderful connections with educators right around the corner. These are the connections that can help you grow as a teacher and create stronger learning environments for your students. We often forget that there are experts down the hallway that we could learn amazing things from if we take the time to say hello and listen to what they have to teacher. 

For this school year, I challenge you to create your own EduTour in your building or district and share what you learned with the rest of us. Have a great year and I can't wait to learn from you. 

Enjoy these pictures from the EduTour