Saturday, 8 November 2014

Your Ideas Matter

Thursday was one of the most amazing PD days I have ever been too and worked at. The organizers at Bit14 did a fabulous job!

While at my workshop on Bridging the Divide: Opening the Classroom Walls, with Aviva Dunsiger a conversation was sparked about the purpose of our blogs.  As I got home last night I thought of this video: 

I love this video for many reasons. But the the main reason is the message that your ideas matter.

                   This is what Aviva and I tried to share yesterday. As educators we all have amazing ideas. We are not defined by our four walls and our learning doesn't happen in an isolation. Keeping along with this message we all have specialties, whether we are students, teachers or parents. We all have skill sets, experiences, and point of views that are worth sharing. What ideas do you like talking about? What area is your expertise? How can I learn from you?

When I first started blogging I struggled because I didn't think that what I had to say was anything important. I read all these amazing blog posts and was almost in shell shock; saying to myself that there is no way that I can write anything that important. Then in dawned on me why not share my thoughts anyways and the rest is history. Now I am in no way a prolific blogger like my amazing friend Aviva but I do try and share my ideas when I can.  I set a goal of two a month and for the most part get that done. 

To help my blog posts started off more about what was happening in my classroom but slowly morphed into education discussions; like this one. They are a reflection depository for me to look back on. 

Now sharing an idea takes risk. This was brought up in the conversations at the presentation. As many looked at the examples (which are in the link) they stated:

1) The comments were very professional
2) They kept questioning
3) It felt as you didn't take comments personally
4) Its a great risk to comment

I would have to agree with all of these comments but it shouldn't hold you back.  Blogging and tweeting has been one of the best professional decisions that I have made in my career. It has made me more of a reflective practitioner, I have been able to build connections that I never thought I would have done and it has made me a better teacher because of the comments and learning that is being done.

So how do you get that started?

1) Jump in. I over heard this at one of our break out sessions in bit. It is not the fear of failure that holds us back but that of criticism.  Don't be afraid of that, you have no control over what others think. However, what it does allow to do is get amazing feedback from a different perspective. Today at TLLP 2014 Andy Hargreaves mentioned that we need to seek out those differing voices to make change happen. We don't have to like the comments but it pushes our thinking.

2) Learn to engage in the learning and sharing of others. I am guilty of this I read a lot of blogs but leave very little comments. But now I try really hard to interact with as many as I can. I try hard to leave a comment that goes beyond "great job" This is hard and often I have to go back to the blog post after I have reflected before doing so. By interaction is how you build relationships and trust (which is hard to do online).

3) How is your own blog post, tweet engaging. I once ask Aviva, no one responds to my posts. She turned around and said, "Does your post lend itself to being responded to?" This is a great question.

So I will end with this final thought:

1) How are you making connections in our profession?

2) How do you go about creating dialogue to push yourself and others outside of the four walls of the classroom?

3) What ideas are you willing to share? Remember your ideas matter

I can't wait to hear from you or read your blogs (feel free to tag me @mrsoclassroom and I will respond).

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