Super Friends

"Super Friends"
I heard this term used by Dyane Smokorowski at EdCampKS last week. I love it! We all need friends, and who couldn't use some super friends!

But what is a "super friend"? And what does it take to be or become a super friend?

First I want to look at what it meant to me as I heard and observed it. It was first used in our opening time as we paired up and discussed topics. This super friend in my definition was a new connection. We need to connect with other educators! Often we attend conferences with our colleagues or friends, we work with the same people, talk with the same people.... 

The next time I heard it is also referenced connections. This time thinking of connections with those of same passions. Finding experts in your passion area and that being a super friend. It was interesting in this session that a comment was made that it felt like most of us knew each other in the room. However, we didn't...most of us just knew one person. Talk about super friend!

Interested in knowing more, I contacted Dyane for her definition. She first shared that she heard it originally from Kevin Honeycutt at Podstock a couple of years ago. She said that he spoke of teacher leaders needing super friends or other teacher leaders who "get it" with you. "We are often lone castaways in schools-those who think differently about education, who go out of their way to create extraordinary learning experiences for students." Dyane went on to say, "I believe super friends are those who will align with your big learning dreams for students - it could be a museum educator, an innovative entrepreneur, an elected official, an upcoming tech company, or a teacher from another country.  If you dream BIG for students, surround yourself with super friends who share that vision, the possibilities are endless for kids...and ultimately kids win!"

Over the years, I have seen the power of connections. Opportunities have come because of a connection to a super friend. I've called on some super friends to share their knowledge. Once I accepted that I do not need to know "everything"....sometimes there is a sense that we do as educators.... and made use of my super friends or looked for a super friend, a world of opportunities was opened!

But how do you get started? How can you find some super friends? You might say "I'm just so and so". First let's get that mindset out of our heads. We all have something to offer! Each of us is passionate about something different or in a different way. And I have to get this out of my head as well! I compare myself to other teacher leaders/super friends and begin to doubt my abilities. One way to start is how I started, with using social media (Facebook and Twitter). I connected with a couple super friends. Then I looked at some of their friends and connected with those that had similar passions. You just need to find a start. Think of it as a 21st century rolodex!

In fact, I am thinking about creating a super fiend list somewhere online. Beside each super friend would be the super connection power. It would look a little like this (I'll use myself as an example) Carol Nelson (@mrscarolnelson; www.mrscarolnelson.org) -- instructional technology.
Here are a few other examples:
Dyane Smokorowski (+Dyane Smokorowski, @Mrs_Smoke)- Skype, Global Connections 
Ginger Lewman (@GingerLewman, www.gingerlewman.org) PBL, STEAM
Kevin Case (@inmansuperc) - Twitter

These are just a few super fiends. These are those that I have personally reached out to as a resource and have have helped me out! I know that I can reach out to them and they will help. That makes them super in my book!!

Who would you add to this list?

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