Mrs. M was my mentor teacher. I recall exactly three interactions with her:
- She handed me the stack of forms from the previous year, giving me her templates for everything for my classroom and explaining how we were going to use Take Home Folders.
- The faculty bathroom door, when locked and *then* closed, unlocks as a safety mechanism. Who knew? Not me.
- She had been missing a filing cabinet that contained all her social studies resources. Turns out, the janitor put it in my room.
She went on leave by Week 2, and by Week 4 had taken early retirement. (Yes, I had an official mentor teacher for a whopping two whole weeks. No, I did not use Take Home Folders with 6th graders.)
I tried to go to her with questions during our brief time together, but she did not have time for me, ever. If she had answers or suggestions, they were not usable for me and were either sarcastic or mean. Her attitude sucked.
And I don’t blame her.
Well, ok, you can be upset and not take it out on everyone for days on end, but she was part of a team that disbanded, and she was lost, and her attitude I understand. Her team leader and friend retired in May, and now she had to work with a team she did not choose *and* mentor a young, pregnant, first-year teacher that she did not even want to teach alongside, let alone guide.
She had become unconnected. And she promptly went on leave and then left for good, and I never saw or heard from her again.
(Her replacement teacher, Mrs. K, is one of my favorite teachers -and people – ever.)
Mrs. H was a middle school guidance counselor for 31 years.
If you took all that middle school drama and lined it up end to end, it would circle the globe eight times.
When a new principal came in, she was moved to a content area. About this time, we started having quarterly (monthly?) district-wide meetings. We’d go around the room and talk about whatever it was we were supposed to be talking about.
And when we got to Mrs. H, this was her honest-to-God answer: “I haven’t the faintest clue what we’re talking about or what we’re supposed to be doing. I’ve been in this school for 31 years, and I retire in May. I don’t know what that number is you’re talking about, and at this point, I don’t plan to learn it. I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to do with that bulletin board for Christmas this whole time.” And she pointed to a bulletin board that students had written I think their future plans on, I’m not really sure what it was, but I do know that her students probably felt appreciated by her, despite the content they may or may not have been learning.
What I appreciate about Mrs. H was her direct acknowledgement of low morale. While my mentor teacher just snipped and kept to herself, Mrs. H. was the team player who let you know, in no uncertain terms, that she was not going to be a team player. (Her assistant principal was in the room at the time. He just smiled. I’m sure he’d heard the same answer from her sometime before.)
She actually retired in December.
There are unconnected educators. They are educators who refuse to make connections with other teachers. They don’t seek out new materials or activities, they don’t want to help colleagues, and they really don’t want you to help them. They don’t last long.
Unconnected educators are not educators who aren’t using social media. I have worked with dozens of super awesome teachers who will never have a Twitter account, and I’m ok with that, and they’re ok with that, and you should be too.
So you might be wondering how I plan on celebrating Connected Educator Month.
I am probably going to celebrate Connected Educator Month, but not the way everyone else is. I’m not going to have a Twitter chat about being in a Twitter chat, despite how meta that is.
I’m not going to tweet about being connected because Twitter.
I’m not going to do anything on Google Plus, because why?
You know what I’m going to do for Connected Educator Month? Here are my goals:
- Talk to my favorite educators face-to-face (or Skype) once a week.
- Talk to my favorite educators via phone every day. (I have a lot of favorite educators.)
- Take another educator to dinner this month.
- Send an educator a care package, because I do care.
- Have coffee with an educator.
- Actually plan EdcampNashville (This has been unofficially on my agenda for a while now. I hear stating goals publicly helps you achieve them. I just have to find my edcamp planning box…)
I connect with educators via email and Twitter and Facebook literally every day. It doesn’t seem right to use October just to point out that I use email and Twitter and Facebook literally every day. It should be deeper than that. For Connected Educator Month, I’m actually going to go out and connect with educators as if we live and work in the same areas, because we do!
How are you celebrating Connected Educator Month?