I'm having a night off the soap box tonight, but a quick thanks to everyone who has replied, shared commented and filled out the survey on SBL pay. I'm trying not to peek at the answers until the survey closes, but it's clearly an issue that the profession feels very strongly about, and there is a lot for us to talk about collectively.
One thing that is clear though is that even though the Twitter community is strong and vocal, we are still not reaching a huge number of SBMs and SBLs who are not professionally active on social media. And that's absolutely their right. Social media is a great tool for those who enjoy it, but it's certainly isn't, nor should it be, an expectation.
So how do we connect with a wider audience? Helen Burge wrote a great blog recently on the importance of local groups in connecting and supporting each other in local networks here:
Helen talks about the importance of face to face contact and she's absolutely right. For many of us, a personal connection isn't real and tangible unless we can look someone in the eye, exchange a smile, a handshake and make the social connections that only physical presence can form. However much you get on with someone online, meeting them 'in the flesh' is always a defining moment.
For me, as someone who is very self-reliant and a natural introvert, I am just as happy with an online interaction as real life, but it's important for me to understand that not everyone is like me. It's important as a member of society, but also as a leader - I need to remind myself that face to face contact is important, and make a conscious effort to seek people out, even though my natural instinct might be to stay in my office and email them.
And that's one of the reasons why the #SBLconnect idea is so important to me. I'm going to do all I can to meet as many SBL colleagues this year as possible. Part of that will be a natural benefit of my role, other way might be to try to attend conferences, but then again, it's quite possible to attend a conference and hardly speak to anyone, if you attend alone and aren't a natural chatter.
Stephen Morales recently tweeted me about the importance of a "national conversation" and that's a phrase that's stuck with me. He's right, it's vital and to my mind it's something that the SBL community could only benefit hugely from. I want to take some time to develop my thinking around that idea, to explore what that is and how we can make it happen in a way that includes every SBL, in every school, in a range of ways to suit all tastes.
I'd welcome your thoughts on what a 'national conversation' would mean to you.
P.S. Sorry, that ended up pretty soap-boxy, but that's the beauty of blogging - you never know where it'll take you.