What Really Matters? Connection. Really.

As I’ve already written, my one word goal for 2019 is flexibility. But it was very nearly connection. And maybe it’s just that it’s on my mind, but I have been seeing conversations about connection, and conversely, isolation, EVERYWHERE!

In Megan Morgan’s #OneWord2019 of trust:

I am living out trust when:
I will choose connection over isolation.
I will add value to others and myself.
I will treat myself as a trusted friend.

~Megan Morgan

In Richard Ten Eyck’s Rethinking Learning Blog:

In my visits to schools throughout the country over the past 15 years, I have seen school after school in which separation dominates… kids separate from teachers, teachers separation from leadership, kids separate from one another. In many of these schools, teachers in adjacent classroom have no idea what is happening next door. Teachers work in isolation with little or no understanding, commitment, acceptance (pick your noun) of a common direction, vision, purpose (with the possible common commitment to have their kids achieve arbitrarily determined cut-scores on state assessments).

~Richard TenEyck

In Strong Towns’ piece about child abductions and the human habitat:

By closing ourselves off from each other, we do serious damage to ourselves and to society—and sometimes, that damage is worse than the danger we feared in the first place….The story of Jayme Closs should give us cause to hug our children a little tighter, but then to love them enough to send them out boldly into the world—and while they’re out playing, we need to work to make that world just a little less isolating for them.”

~Charles Marohn

Not to mention the last couple of weekly Dose of Daring emails from Brene Brown:

Connection cannot be an afterthought. It cannot take the backseat to curriculum. It cannot be another program.

Connection in our classrooms might look like:

  • Choosing messy conversations over neat clip charts or similar systems
  • Helping students plan their own day to gain a broader picture and make their own connections for a meaningful learning path
  • Engaging in inquiry with our students, and sharing our genuine personal learning journeys
  • Building in blocks of time to listen and share, such as a weekly classroom meeting or daily high/lows.
  • Making reading and writing and math more about being readers and writers and mathematics than about doing all those things.

Once you start to pay attention to just how important connection is, and the heavy price of isolation, you won’t be able to stop noticing. And really, we need it every bit as much as our students do, anyway. How will you choose connection today?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

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