Happy Dependence Day

(No, that’s not a typo.)

Uncle Sam ImageEvery July 4th those of us in the US observe our Independence Day. We watch baseball, eat hot dogs, and shoot off fireworks all to celebrate that day in 1776 when we said to the world, “Thanks, but we’ll take it from here. We don’t need need you. We can do a better job on our own.”

As a nation, that event 234 years ago turned out to be a pretty good thing, but as an educator the thought of declaring my personal independence from everyone else is pretty frightening. In fact, I’d like to take today, July 6th, and celebrate my DE-pendence by saying, “Thanks for all the help. I need you. I couldn’t do it without you.”

My Personal Declaration of Dependence

I, Dennis, on this sixth day of July in the year two thousand ten, do hereby declare that I cannot solely by my own knowledge and that which is contained in my textbook and teacher manuals, effectively teach and prepare my students for their future. I proudly admit that I am dependent on my personal network of friends, teachers, and education professionals to provide me with…

  • inspiration when I need inspiring.
  • ideas when I suffer from mental blocks.
  • links and resources of all sorts when I’m too lazy to search for them myself.
  • a sounding board for bouncing off my hair-brained ideas.
  • collaborators to provide different perspectives, assist with projects, and share the blame when things don’t go as expected.
  • a place to vent frustrations to like-minded people who understand and have also been there themselves.

and last but definitely not least,

  • lots and lots of laughter.

As I look back to the blur of events that took place at the ISTE Conference in Denver last week, I realize how truly dependent I am on these connections. Visiting in person with so many of the educators I know online was a rare treat. It was a chance to re-energize old friendships and to finally meet face to face with those who I only knew as a name or an avatar. You people are awesome. You not only gave me an opportunity to share what I know (a real boost to my self esteem) you also gave me all sorts of new ideas to explore and new strategies to try next year. Best of all, you showed me that my personal learning network is made up of fun, passionate teachers, who care about doing what is best for our students. I can’t help but think I’m a better educator because of you.

Happy Dependance Day!

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