This summer I, along with many other educators, got on Voxer and started discovering just how powerful of a PLN tool it could be. Although I wrote a post extolling the virtues of the app then, it is not until now 5 months into using it that I have truly witnessed the incredible power it holds for me. Voxer is not just for collaborating, it is for connecting, and those connections are changing my life.
As educators, and especially female educators, there seems to be a weird phenomenon surrounding us; the seemingly overabundance of highly connected male educators, whether administrators, teachers, or tech integrators. (Yes, this is a simplification, but bear with me). I have often wondered about the apparent “mens/boys” club that seem to exist on Twitter, at conferences, and on blogs that list who people must follow, and have even written about it in the past. Don’t misunderstand; I don’t feel the need to be a part of a male club, instead this realization made me long more for my own female version that could share the same camaraderie that seemed to exist in these groups, the ease with which they communicated and had each others’ backs. I wanted my own group of women that would inspire me, support me, and actually become friends. Enter Voxer.
5 months ago a few acquaintances and I started a Voxer group. I didn’t think much of it, after all I was in about 8 different groups at the time all discussing various things related to education, and loving it. The group consisted of 5 women from different parts of education that all had a few things in common but were nowhere near being close friends. At first the Voxes were funny, little slivers of our lives and thoughts being shared. Yet with time those Voxes grew, sometimes spanning more than 5 minutes, and as they grew so did our bond. I never knew how much I needed this group. I never knew how much I needed a group of women to grow with.
Yet, this group is not the only one I go to every day hoping for my heart to be filled, for my inspiration to be renewed, and my thoughts expanded. Another Voxer group is between a few female educators I greatly admire and am lucky enough to call friends. These two women have inspired countless blog posts, helped me make huge life decisions, as well as made me laugh. Every week we check in, we update, we share our thoughts, making sure that we all feel supported, that we all feel cared for. How powerful is that.
So if you are in need of a tribe like I was; don’t be afraid to reach out. Use Voxer as a way to connect to others in a deeper way and don’t be afraid to ask others to be in a group with you. If you are a female connected educator but feeling alone sometimes, Voxer is your place. Start a group, take the plunge, reach out to those that you maybe only know a little and see what happens.
The groups I get to be a part of, those that really matter to me, weren’t planned. We didn’t set out to create these bonds, but they happened because we tried. They happened because we realized that by having this tool to bring our voice together, we grew stronger as a group, we grew because we trusted each other. You don’t have to feel alone even if you are a connected educator.
cross-posted at pernillesripp.com.
Pernille Ripp is the the author of Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students, creator of Global Read Aloud Project, and co-founder of EdCamp MadWI. She teaches fifth grade in Verona, Wisconsin, and blogs at http://pernillesripp.com.