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[Professional Development] Why Every Education Administrator Should Make Peer Connections a Priority

[Professional Development] Why Every Education Administrator Should Make Peer Connections a Priority

With the recent launch of our Edmentum Educator Network, we’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a connected educator. And, we recognize that classroom teachers are not the only group that can benefit from peer connections. Administrators face similar challenges related to demands on their time and isolated work environments just as teachers do—and they have just as much (or maybe more) need for collaboration in order to share ideas and tackle important problems related to student outcomes, whether online or in person. 

So, why should administrators focus on being “connected educators” and prioritize collaboration with peers?

  • To gain new knowledge and ideas: It may seem obvious, but this is a very important benefit of being connected with others. Learning from other admins’ experience when it comes to a variety of issues can help you come up with new ideas to implement at your school.
  • To gather advice specific to the situation: Once you’re on board with sharing your experience, you can ask questions that are specific to your school and receive authentic advice or tips in return.
  • To meet new friends, both near and far: While it can be nice to connect with admins from around the country (or even the world, for that matter), there’s a lot of potential to connect with admins in your own district or a neighboring one. Keeping a solid focus on relationships both near and far will help to broaden your view.
  • To gain a new perspective: Be open to new and innovative ideas. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut or a certain way of thinking but be open to the possibility that another admin may have the answer that will solve your problems.

While it’s easy to see the benefits of connecting with others, finding the motivation (let alone minutes in the day) to get started can feel overwhelming. Administrators do face huge demands on their time; luckily, there are plenty of ways to connect that are quick and far from intimidating. Here are a few first steps to get connected with other administrators:

 

  • Consider joining a principal or administrator group on Facebook. These online communities can serve as awesome resources in which to network with other administrators, share advice, exchange ideas, and learn from each other! WeAreTeachers hosts the Principal Life group on Facebook, which serves as a private and informational resource for principals, vice principals, and school administrators to connect!

 

  • Start following a few hashtags on education topics that you’re interested in on Twitter. These hashtags could be specific, like ones for your school or state, or more broad, like #PrincipalLife, #SchoolAdmin, or #Leadership. Following a hashtag is a simple way to gather different perspectives on issues other admins face regularly and a great way to test innovative ideas.

 

  • Join the conversation! Whether you’re active on Twitter, Facebook, or any other online forum, be a true participant. Comment, like, and share posts that resonate with you. Ask questions. Send those DMs (direct messages)! You’ll meet new people, share your own ideas, and connect with peers who understand the ups and downs you face on a daily basis. Who knows—you might build your next great friendship.

Administrators’ time is precious—adding another thing to your to-do list can feel daunting. However, once you’ve taken the plunge and commit to connecting with others, your workload can be lifted, your peer relationships can be fulfilling, and your practice as an educator can be deepened by the process.

Ready to start your journey as a connected educator? Follow the Edmentum Educator Network on Twitter. You can join the Network today to access our exclusive Facebook group, meet other administrators and teachers, and take advantage of opportunities to work directly with our Curriculum team!