Saturday, September 20, 2014

This I believe..... to be continued

In taking a Theory Into Practice course to hone my skills in my profession to best help learners and colleagues I work with, we were assigned a reflection assignment based on an NPR segment entitled "This I Believe". It is intended to be a reflection assignment about our core beliefs that guide our daily lives.  I've started reflecting and below are my initial thoughts about what drives me. 
I believe we are whom we surround ourselves with. People can inspire you or drain you.  Who we choose to spend time with can help define us in our families, with our friends, and professionally. The people we choose to let into our lives and shape our conversations, thoughts and feelings are reflections of who we are.  Choose wisely.
 I believe that there is no greater calling than being an educator.  Who else holds the world in their hands?  Educators inspire people to be doctors, writers, engineers, social workers, and yes, even politicians.  Educators have the power to show the world to a learner and light a spark of greatness.  I believe educators sometimes forget the weight of our task is mighty.  I also believe that there is no profession that brings greater joy EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I am not just a teacher.
 I believe in relationships. The key to engaging learners, connecting with families, collaborating with colleagues, and being happy is relationships.  In this digital time, we need to find ways to connect deeper than the 140-character limit that doesn’t allow for body language and reading someone’s emotions.  We may be able to connect globally through digital means, but there will never be world peace unless we connect in person and create meaningful relationships.
I believe this list will grow as I reflect on my core beliefs and try to articulate them.

What do you believe?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

You think? Collaboration Immigrants, too?

So, I am taking this Thinkfinity course online - I highly recommend - and I had a HUGE AHA! Ok, maybe the rest of you already had this one, but it just hit me. The whole "digital native vs. digital immigrant" idea has been floating around for some time now. Not the big AHA, just hang on. And, we all keep talking about why all teachers aren't just jumping in to technology and collaborating online or otherwise. Well, the two just clicked for me.

"We", those of us that have jumped on in to technology integration blindly or with a hand held, can't understand why others haven't followed. There have been several ideas such as, old-fashioned, set in their ways, not knowledgeable about technology, unwilling to change, not enough time, blah, blah, blah. But, what if we are not looking at this from the right perspective? What if it isn't any of the above? What if it is a collaboration thing? A confidence thing?

This year our district implemented a Friday early release/teacher collaboration time. Many are dreading it for various reasons, others excited. One teacher says to me, "I hate these things, I have nothing to share." I didn't think about that at the time relating to tech. if that is closer to the truth than old-fashioned? It takes a TON of time on your own to find resources, write lesson plans and be innovative. Many of us have turned to others and shared. I came out of the school system with the ingrained attitude of "do it yourself, be original, or you are cheating". Now, the attitude is, "Cool! I think I'll try that, too!" However, what if some of who we call digital immigrants are also still harboring the "I have to be original, can't copy someone's ideas" attitude. So just maybe it really isn't ALL about the technology and the time factor. Maybe it's also a bit about them (you know "them", the teachers "we" have labeled old-fashioned) thinking they have to come up with their own idea, something unique and original instead of "copying" someone's great lesson. My generation of teachers aren't just digital immigrants, we are collaboration immigrants, too. That's two hurdles to overcome!

AHA! My approach and attitude toward training, collaborating, and just being a teammate totally changed this morning. I am going to validate colleagues input more, "copy" other great teaching ideas more - and announce it (the whole model-what's-ok-and-appropriate thing), and shut-up and listen more (those who know me - HELP!).

Not everyone has to blog, be on twitter, facebook, 4square, or whatever, to learn about the benefits of collaboration and sharing together. Not only can we learn new ideas, but we can feel validated and empowered when someone wants to "copy" what we do or has positive comments about our thoughts and ideas. That can and should be done face-to-face, through e-mails, at meetings, not just online. When teachers feel empowered and validated, they are more likely to continue doing great things and try new!