I love personality tests. My favorite is the Gallup Strengthsfinder, a test many businesses use and one I was required to take in college. The test identifies your top five qualities or “strengths,” the most prominent aspects of your personality. One of mine was Connectedness. People who have the Connectedness strength believe:
- We have a responsibility to each other to do the right thing
- We are not alone, even when we feel like it
- The good or bad things we do affect others
- We can help each other
When I started hearing about “Connected Educators,” I immediately thought, “Hey! Connectedness is one of my strengths!” The more I’ve learned from working with amazing Connected Educators like Peter DeWitt, Eric Sheninger, Tom Whitby, and Kristen Swanson, the more I’ve seen how the characteristics of Connectedness also apply to being a Connected Educator.
A Connected Educator uses online media to practice Connectedness, for the purpose of bettering education.
A Connected Educator believes:
- Online collaboration will help us become better educators
- To be better educators, we must be better learners
- By sharing my successes and failures online, I learn from those experiences, and others might be able to learn from them as well
- It’s important to be open, honest, and transparent, and sharing helps us do that
- Sharing online is one of the best ways to get feedback
- I can learn from teachers and leaders across the globe
- I have a responsibility to share what I’m doing so that it might help others
- Other educators may have gone through what I’m experiencing, and they can support me
- I can empathize with and support other educators
- It is important to share the successes of my students
- I have a responsibility to students to help other teachers
I took the Strengthsfinder quiz again last year and was devastated to see that Connectedness no longer showed up in my Top 5. I did some soul-searching, asking myself tough questions. Did I no longer believe in my responsibility to others? Did I no longer care about the affect my actions have? Absolutely not. Those beliefs haven’t changed, but my circumstances in life had changed so that other aspects of my personality were being strengthened and improved—so much so that those strengths ranked first. And that’s ok.
Even if Connectedness isn’t one of your strengths, it’s still something worth working on. Sometimes this is called “claiming” a strength.
I’m claiming Connectedness. This doesn’t mean I’m an expert—it means I know I’m not an expert and I want to learn from other educators. I want to learn from YOU.
Do you think Connectedness is one of your strengths? How do you practice Connectedness—personally and as an educator?