While routinely checking my twitter feed in the morning, I ran across a nice blog post, Where are All the Connected Female Educators
, written by Pernille Ripp
. She poses a lot of questions. It made me think, What took me so long to get connected? Why am I not more connected? I agree, we need more women out there keynoting conferences, publishing books, and contributing to an audience that is mostly female. I also wonder, if there are any men or women in my current situation. Do the majority of connected women out there have young children? How do they do it?
This is my own personal response. I am not speaking for anyone else. Being a connected educator is a struggle for me. Being a connected educator is also very important to me. I have found that twitter is one of the best places for my own professional learning to take place. I have found passionate educators, great podcasts, resources, and blogs while on twitter. I have been learning so much from other experiences. I love it!
What Took Me so Long?
I learned about being a connected educator 5 years ago. Around that time I was new to motherhood, my husband was deployed, but I still wanted to learn. I struggled with raising my baby, keeping up with school paperwork, creating innovative lessons for my 4th graders, hanging out with my real friends, sleeping, the list could really go on and on. I still created an account to begin connecting with educators on a social network called Plurk and through Facebook.
A few years later, baby number two came into the picture. At that point FB was my place to share educational resources and baby photos. I only contributed here and there, because the moment I picked them up from daycare, it was my time to catch up. I hadn't seen them all day. I missed many firsts, conversation, and I wanted to play with them.
Now, I budget the time to connect. What works for me is waking up at 4:45. It seems like the best time for me to find time to myself. I drink my coffee, read blogs, check out twitter, read a book, or write a blog post of my own. It's what works for me at this present time. Once I'm home and Mom, there are small opportunities to connect.
Most times, if I want to participate in a chat, I have to occupy my 3 and 6 yo for an hour. That usually means start a movie for them. I really do miss out on a lot of twitter chats.
I am human. Sometimes, I do stop in to interact at night (on my smartphone). I am trying to limit that a little more, because there is nothing like the dagger of hearing your 3yo say, "Mom, put your phone down and play cars with me. Do you want to play with me?" Mid tweet, I set my phone down. He'll only be 3 for a short while and I don't want to miss it.
I am trying to present at more conferences. The struggle is feeling like I am burdening someone by asking for help. My husband has a very crazy work schedule it doesn't leave much time for me to be spontaneous. When he is home, he is one of my biggest supporters. I have found that my family also supports my ambition to learn and my dream to excel in my career. That doesn't change the guilt I feel when I have to leave my children behind because I want to travel to a conference.
I want to be more connected, but I also want to be a great Mom and Wife. Right now, it's educating my husband about why I'm on-line when he is home. In a relationship, I feel it's healthy to explain what a twitter chat is. Then it's knowing when to put the technology down because my family would like to interact with me too.
I Won't Give Up
I have begun challenging myself to step out and be more connected. I do dream of being a Keynote at a conference. I do dream of publishing a book one day. I do dream of creating apps that will help my educator friends. I do dream of going places. For now, most of that happens at 4:45 in the morning. That's how much I want to be connected. All in time.