I’ve been on an incredible journey for the past several years.  I have been scooped up and sucked into the magical vortex of being a truly connected educator.  This means that I’ve gotten my head out of the hypothetical sand that is ‘just my school’ or ‘just my district’ and I have made powerful, wonderful connections with brilliant and inspiring educators from all over the world.  I swear that there is not one DAY that goes by that I don’t tap into that treasure trove of knowledge.  Not one day.

Sometimes I just peruse the Twitter feed, bookmarking items of interest for later reading or just plain ‘liking’ various posts that make me think.  I receive notifications for certain people or organizations that I follow, and I search for hashtags that interest me at any particular moment.  I interact with interesting people, I continue conversations privately through direct messaging, I get further in-depth through incredible group Voxer conversations, I belong to several Slack groups, I’ve joined communities of various EdTech company ambassadors that I just love, I cherish opportunities to chat via Google Hangout, Skype, or appear.in……and I travel – sometimes far – for the beautiful opportunity to have face-to-face meet ups.

It turns out that that are so many more like me.  I swear, five years ago, I never would have known it.  I lived in a bubble, never knowing that there is a whole universe of educators who are reaching out to find others who want to learn, grow, work overtime, play overtime, create new learning opportunities, try new things, network, share ideas, share failures, ask for help,  go to workshops and conferences and meetups and hackathons and CoffeeEdus and edcamps on weekends – just for the fun of it!

I’ve found so many new friends who have given me a new hope for the future of education.  I’ve found optimists who eschew the negativity of the faculty lounge and the union meetings and who embrace the FUN that learning brings (for little kids and for us big kids, too!)   These are educators who aren’t ashamed to ask if they can borrow your innovative idea so that they can tweak it and make it their own ~ and they’re cool enough to mention you and give credit for the idea.  These are professionals who want to help each other grow, sharing opportunities like grants and conferences and proposals and contests…without secrecy, insecurity and competition.  These are innovators who say, “Look at this amazing thing I created.  I want you to have it, too.  Here, I’ll share it for free.”  These are my kind of people.  I’ve found my tribe.

Ending with gratitude:  This whole story -the whole experience – was the beginning of a true leadership journey.  The friends I have made, the knowledge I’ve gained, the network I still bow down to, and the confidence I’ve acquired have led me to places beyond my dreams.  I have become not just a digital leader, but also a leader in so many other ways – and I’m so very, very grateful for all of the opportunities.