- Having a professional network and people to connect with is valuable.
- Even though reaching out can be difficult for some, find ways to connect to people in your school.
- Make connections with other professionals outside of school, even non-educators.
Let’s just be real here for a moment. Having friends definitely makes work —and life, for that matter— better. We all need that one person to have a connection with during the day. Whether it is helping to solve a problem or simply making the day a little bit better. It might be easy for some to make friends or connect with others; yet, there are some that find making connections harder than most.
Many would think that being an educator, we are all extroverts; by the definition of teaching, this is what the teaching profession entails five days a week for nine months. However, there are some educators that are not extroverts and in fact, have a fear of “stepping outside” their own box.When we think about professional connections, it does not have to be those in our own building or even our state. Our professional network includes those we learn from and those who inspire us to come out of our comfort zone. Click To Tweet
Seventeen years ago, I walked into a building not knowing what I was doing or where I would be heading. I knew it would be difficult to be the “new kid on the block” as there are always obstacles in teaching. Yet, what I did not know was one of the biggest obstacles in a building is to connect with other educators.
What new teachers may not know is the teacher in the room next door or the teacher on the opposite side of the building are connections to create a positive environment. A simple smile or hello every morning creates that positive vibe. One positive vibe is contagious as it spreads throughout a building. Ultimately, this leads to fostering positive professional relationships.
Relationships in a building are not the only ones where professional connections are created.
Even though social media seems to be a hindrance at times, its use can be inspirational in many ways. In fact, many of the friendships I have with educators are ones who I have not yet met in person. I was hesitant in writing this post as I could not think of what to write.
It wasn’t until I joined the Tuesday night Masterminds meeting online. The attendance was low but in a sense, worked out perfectly. In fact, even as the hour-long meeting ended, a new professional contact was made.[scroll down to keep reading]
When we think about professional connections, it does not have to be those in our own building or even our state. These relationships can even be from other professions. Our professional network includes those we learn from and those who inspire us to come out of our comfort zone. If you feel uncomfortable about connecting with others, it’s okay. We have all been there before. Sometimes we need to take the time to listen to others before making that first step.
But if you find yourself still trying to connect, it only takes that one person to connect to hundreds of others.
About Kristen Koppers
Kristen is an educator, Edumatch author, blogger, and presenter. She teaches ELA in secondary education as well as an adjunct professor at a local junior college. Kristen has been teaching for twenty years and has a Master of Arts in English (M.A.) and a Master of Education in Administration (MA. Ed.). She certified as a National Board Certified Teacher in 2009 and completed her recertification in 2019.
Kristen is the author of Differentiated Instruction in the Teaching Profession (2019) #DITeaching and The Perfect Puppy (2020) #ThePerfectPuppyEdu. Find out more information about Kristen at: www.kristenkoppers.wix.com/kop