Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Connected Educator Month - More Than Just Talk?

This afternoon I had the distinct pleasure of participating in one of the opening panel discussions for Connected Educator Month. The discussion, Professional Learning and the Learning Profession, and the month-long forum that goes with it, will focus on how teachers are / should be taking charge of our own learning. We must see the value of continuing to be active learners, and we must take the initiative to seek and participate in our own learning. It's time that we search out what is interesting to us, what will benefit our students, and what will help us grow and learn as individuals.

But more and more, and I wrapped up the conversation with this comment today, I wonder what people are actually doing with all this talk. Are people actually going back to their schools and pushing for change beyond their classroom walls? Daniel Whitt  made a great comment. If we really want to see change, we need to be prepared because it's going to be difficult. It's going to be ugly. And bridges will burn. Believe me, I know first hand how those bridges burn. My teammates and I found out when we tried to initiate change in our building this year. It burns, and it gets ugly. But if what we're doing is right for the kids then we must go forward strongly and be prepared for the fires.

Our kids don't need more talk. They need and deserve action from us. They deserve teachers who are positive deviants (I believe that name also came from Daniel during our discussion, but I may be wrong about that) who positively push for and affect change in a slow and stubborn system.

So I ask you, if you are participating in Connected Educators Month, what are your goals? How will you take what you have learned and change what you are doing for kids? How will you make a difference in your school?


Scott McDaniel said...

Excellent points you've made. Change is hard partly because it is change, and partly, I think, due to the nature of many people, in and out of education. The further we move from our "college years" the more we become stuck in the day to day. I see this in a regional group of tech directors I work with, all great folks, but absolutely mired in the policy changes we need, talking about what the state requires of us. When I say something that breaks free of that daily focus, you can first of all hear a pin drop, but also you can see the confused looks on their faces. To really ask the questions you are asking, you also need to be brave and continue to give a damn without shame.

Becky Bair said...

Thanks for adding your thoughts, Scott. You're so right about the confused looks and the pin dropping when new ideas are introduced. I wonder how much of that is not only a fear of change, but also due to the fact that so much change in education comes and goes without really making an impact. We do so throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to adopting the next new thing without keeping the parts from older work that really worked for kids.

Hopefully many will continue to be brave enough and more will join the ranks.

Nancy C said...

Thank you for posing such a great question..."What are we doing with all this talk? Are we pushing for change beyond the classroom walls?" I wonder what I can do when I can't seem to connect with my colleagues who are within a 1/2 hours distance this summer. I am determined though cajole, plead and push my colleagues to all those who are willing to connect themselves. They will see how beneficial to all it becomes!

Thanks Becky for promoting Connected Education!

Becky Bair said...

It is challenging, Nancy, because unless you have like-minded people working with you in your building, it seems like many are just happy to do what they've always done. Thankfully I had two brave souls on my team, we all saw a need, and we went for it. It certainly hasn't gained us many fans, but in the end we pushed our grade level team to change in a way that we feel will be much better for the kids.

I say pick the one or two people you feel are most likely to "drink the Kool Aid" and see what happens! We've got to get these great ideas out of a virtual space and into our schools. And I know you are just one of the people to do that!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. :)