I wish I could tell you how many smart, thoughtful and motivated people I have met through networking. The honest answer: probably hundreds! But more important, I wish I could tell you how much I have learned and grown from knowing others in my field who are trying new things to help students learn, and having innovative conversations in their schools. So like you, I never had time to fashionably “do lunch” with someone but I had other strategies.
When I would go to conferences, like the NWAIS Fall Educators Conference in October or the Leadership Conference in June, I would listen for the people who were asking interesting questions. And when the facilitator said, “Pair up!” I would seek out someone that I was curious about. Or I would intentionally sit next to a group from an interesting school so I could work with them. Then I would make a point of saying hi to them outside the meeting and, WHA-La! - we’d made a connection.
Similar “WHA-la!” moments happen in our professional learning cohorts. A group of motivated folks who have similar jobs in schools (teaching and learning coordinators, division heads, assistant heads, department heads) get together and with our help build trust in each other and us. Together, we become a group that metaphorically “does lunch” and works together to solve problems, learn new things about ourselves as educators and leaders, and try out ideas.
Bianca Miller Coles, in her 2019 Forbes article, “10 Reasons Why Networking is Essential for Your Career,” says creating a network of professional peers can help in all aspects of your life. “Success in a career is largely attributed to the pool of information or ideas you have garnered over the past,” she writes. “When networks have been created, it fosters a trade of ideas to sustain long-term relationships and mutual trust. When you are receiving ideas, it helps both in your place of work and out, in addition to instilling best practices that soothe your career.”
The opportunity to deeply engage with other professionals is out there - at conferences and workshops and in coaching and cohorts. And it’s less, “do lunch” than it is “pair up!”
If you are interested in connecting with other administrators in one of our Professional Learning Cohorts, head to our website to inquire or sign up at www.bookbaglearning.com