In 2021, I chose ‘excelsior’ as one word to help nudge incremental progress through the pandemic we all hoped might be a memory rather than a reality by 2022.
As I reflect on the past couple of years, it has been my networks, collaborations and connections with others that have buoyed and energised me. This includes checking in on friends and finding ways to regularly connect with my family. It involves collaborating with staff at my school, and working with educators from around the globe, often through co-writing or co-presenting. While some collaborations have resulted in products and achievements, conversations are often a reward in themselves.
I want to deepen my focus on being connected, and so my word for 2022 is CONNECTION.
A getaway has been a perfect way to start the year connecting with family, and I have begun to use a meditation app at night to connect with self. In the last week, I have connected with national and global colleagues during the ICSEI (International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement) congress, including by being part of two symposia:
- ‘Educational Leadership Policy and Practice for Diversity and Equity’ with Christine Grice, Claire Golledge, Santiago Rincón-Gallardo and Beatriz Pont. This symposium drew from the work of Future Alternatives for Educational Leadership, specifically the Foreword (Pont) and Chapters 2 (Grice), 3 (Netolicky & Golledge) and 14 (Rincón-Gallardo). It explored new conceptions of sustainable educational leadership through the metaphors of wayfinding, salvaging and social movement. Common threads included the leading as practice, care, learning, wellbeing and hope, as well as tensions between education systems and the realities of schools. Beatriz noted in her discussion that we need to shape and define the future of education as a collective. Video below.
- ‘Pracademia: Exploring the possibilities, power and politics of boundary-spanners straddling the worlds of practice and scholarship’ with Trista Hollweck, Paul Campbell, John Mynott, Michaela Zimmatore, Steven Kolber, Keith Heggart and Scott Eacott. In this symposium we explored the tensions and possibilities of the concept of pracademia, ideas and research published in a Special Issue of the Journal of Professional Capital and Community (guest edited by Hollweck, Netolicky & Campbell). A video can be found here.
While there is much to miss about in-person conferences, and challenges to online versions (like presenting at 4am or in a busy household), virtual opportunities continue to provide ways to support and connect with one another.
In thinking about channeling connection, I have additionally decided to finally launch the podcast I have been thinking about for two years: The Edu Salon. I am excited about sharing rich conversations with inspiring educators, and contributing to the networked hive mind of the global education community. We are better when we connect with and learn alongside one another, and engage in talking about (and then doing) what matters.
Here’s to connecting in 2022.