Aspiring to be a Connected Female Educator

I have been reflecting on the recent blog by Pernille Ripp asking, “Where are all the connected female educators?” I too have been wondering about this, specifically noting a lack of Canadian female connected educators. Do other people share this observation?

I am not a visible connected female educator, yet I feel connected. I have attended ConnectEd 2012. I tweet (ok – I retweet). I read many blogs. I follow conferences via #hashtags. I even did my MA Leadership project on the use of social media to increase collaboration in a school district. But I am largely invisible as a connected educator. So, in answer to Pernille’s question, here is what gets in the way for me.

Perhaps (as many respondents have suggested) it is partly due to being female and the demands of having children. In my case, it is also due to my tendency to avoid being in the spotlight. Perhaps it is due to my lack of confidence and my fear of saying something that might offend others. Perhaps it is because writing coherently is difficult for me; composing a blog entry takes an incredible amount of time. Perhaps it is due to the lack of skills I have related to using social media. (I just figured out how to link Pernille’s blog…took me 20 minutes to do it…I hope it’s right!) Perhaps it is due to my desire to be perfect. Perhaps it is due to feeling intimidated by all the amazing men and women educators I follow on Twitter. Perhaps, I feel I have nothing worthwhile to say. Perhaps, it is because I do not hold a formal leadership position. Am I the only female who struggles with these limiting beliefs? I doubt it. But enough of the rationalizations.

I do consider myself a leader, albeit a quiet one. I do not blog – yet. I do not engage in conversations on social media – yet. But as Tom Whitby stressed in his post on Blogs and Connected Educators, blogging is a critical step towards connectedness.

To be part of the change, educators need to be part of the process. They need to connect, comment and contribute wherever possible in our connected community of educators. That is where our voice as educators is the strongest. Connectedness is our best chance for positive change that is not mandated, or legislated, but rather collaboratively established.

As a continuing student of leadership, I have learned to stretch myself…to set goals outside my comfort zone. I have learned to be vulnerable. I have learned the value of written reflection. I have learned that it is important to discover and share one’s gifts. I have learned it is important to reach out and connect. So, to become a visible connected female educator, I will be blogging. I will be commenting on blogs and I will be tweeting original tweets. I will be asking for help from male and female connected educators. I will be looking for female mentors. And who knows, maybe a group of connected female educators will presenting soon at a conference near you! Are you interested?

P.S. I welcome your feedback on this first post!

4 comments

  1. If you argue for your shortcomings it will always be an easy victory. Strive to get beyond them an you will find it a little less comfortable at first, but a whole bunch more rewarding in the long run. This post alone puts you way ahead of many in the leadership department. Time to stretch a little further.By the way it took me 40 years as a teacher to be able to write my blog. You have done it in far less time, you are doing fine. I trust you will be a fine leader for more women to follow in your lead.

    1. Tom, thank you for your kind words and for tweeting my post. You have been a mentor and have had a significant impact on my thinking about education and leadership. Added to the surprise of seeing your comments this morning, I accidentally marked your comments as SPAM and couldn’t undo that right away. As well, I replied to your comments but they disappeared. Despite the little glitches, I am inspired to continue to stretch. Warm regards, Diane

  2. Diane, I read Pernille’s blog the other night and ‘connected’ to her thoughts immediately. The continuation of the conversation here, resonates with me too. I also am newly connected. I have written one blog http://heidihobson.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/thats-a-blog/ which relates many of the same themes you mention regarding the hesitation to have a digital voice. I’ve been working on my next post for the last 2 weeks. It does take time. It takes reflection to add value. I think we need to be comfortable that it isn’t all about quantity (number of followers, or number of posts) it has to be about quality+quantity. We do need quantity to get reach. Tom Whitby tweeted your post. He has 40,000+ followers; incredible reach, incredible ability to promote, influence and connect those of us who are unconnected.

    1. Heidi, thank-you for your encouragement and for sharing your blog. So nice to know I’m not alone. I opened my email this morning to find 2 people had commented on my blog. I still don’t understand how you both came upon my post as I thought it would become public only after I tweeted it out today! Imagine my concern when you told me Tom tweeted it out and has over 40,000 followers! As you can see, I am experimenting and making many mistakes. But that’s a good thing…

      Looking forward to reading your next post.

      Warm regards,
      Diane

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