I’ve often said that the five people who influence me the most and on a daily basis… I’ve never met. I’ve never met Lyn Hilt, a distinguished connected educator who blogs at Learning in Technicolor. I have been reading Lyn’s tweets since June of 2011. When she was a principal, I was fascinated and impressed with all the innovative learning experiences that seemed to permeate throughout her entire school. Then one day during a Google Hangout she said, “Shawn, I used to think the same as you. Just because you see it on social media doesn’t mean it’s the culture of the school. I have pockets of innovation happening at my school and this is what I choose to share. You will not see the poor classrooms.”
Many times the same is true when I speak with teachers.
“Teachers self-promote. In that, we’re no different than everyone else: proudly framing our breakthroughs, hiding our blunders in locked drawers, forever perfecting our oral résumés. This isn’t all bad. My colleagues probably have more to learn from my good habits (like the way I use pair work) than my bad ones (like my sloppy system of homework corrections), so I might as well share what’s useful. In an often-frustrating profession, we’re nourished by tales of triumph.” – Ben Orlin
If we truly want to offer value to those around us, we must create conditions so that teachers trust one another to share the most honest stories that we can tell. If we only reveal the good and disguise the bad and the ugly, we take the risk of maintaining a gap between perception and reality. More importantly, we take the risk of becoming comfortable, complacent, and stagnant. Let’s teach 25 years, not one year 25 times.
Something to think about.