What’s In The Mirror?

 

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What are you sharing?  I heard someone tweet recently during an edchat, what educators say online is just a mirror of their heart.  I thought that was a great metaphor that connects well with educators.  Those who share uplifting, positive content generally have an uplifting and positive attitude.  I imagine the opposite is also true.  I’ve never been immune to professional struggle and frustrations.  During those times I have to intentionally reflect on every tweet, Facebook post, etc. to ensure my internal frustrations don’t come through my social media activity.

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No educator would question that we are under attack!  In fact, public education has been under attack for some time.  With the prevalence of social media use, I feel it a tremendous responsibility to fight back.  As Jennifer Hogan put it in her recent blog post, we must be active in diluting the negative stories flooding the media about public education.  I challenge educators to inspect their social media activity and analyze which side of the fight they support.  Educators that use their Facebook account to share the latest Why I Quit Teaching… story or to vent their frustrations about their students, parents, or school, do nothing but add to the concentrated amount of negativity surrounding public education.  Frustrated about certain issues that exist in public education?  So am I.  But instead of contributing to the negativity, let’s fight back by flooding our digital footprint with positive news occurring in education.  Doing anything extraordinary in your classroom?  Please share it!  Active in your teacher union?  Great!  Just 15 years ago, this conversation didn’t occur.  I know educators already have enough responsibilities that even the greatest educators can’t fulfill them all adequately.  However, we can no longer afford to work in isolation, doing great things, without publishing those accomplishments to the rest of the world.  Maybe public opinion could begin to swing in our favor if more educators took responsibility for shifting that story.  Maybe state legislators would take notice if educators flooded their world with evidence of the hard work poured into the hearts of our students every day.

Like I said, I don’t write to you as an educator that’s never had a bad day.  I’m not immune to failure, frustration, unfairness, etc.  I’ve questioned my commitment to this profession as I’m sure you have.  If I can provide any advice, though, it is this:

  • Connect immediately with other likeminded educators.  They can provide you support, encouragement, relief or just a welcome set of ears to absorb those moments when we all need to vent.  Will it require some of your time?  Yes.  Can you afford to continue working in isolation while others benefit from the support of their tribe?  No.
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From: http://www.thecompellededucator.com/2016/02/join-compelled-tribe.html

Here are some great resources to support you in growing your own personal learning network.

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2 thoughts on “What’s In The Mirror?

  1. I don’t know if I understand your point, exactly. I’m happy to share the positive things I and others in my building do, as well as the hard work and $$$ I and others put in to back up in tangible form what our hearts are committed to on an intangible level (I have bought over 4,000 volumes for my in-class library; I have a BYOB policy and have backed my commitment by contributing 12 tablets to our classroom pool; like many, many teachers, I have bought meals for families, shoes, coats, gloves, etc. for my kids, anonymously donated the $1, $2, etc. for “hat day,” and similar fund-raising events for kids who don’t have; like you, the list could go on.) On the other hand, I am NOT going silence my voice when disconnected grown-ups enact policies that are powerfully detrimental to “my” kids. (Don’t we all think of our students as “our kids”?) Just as an example, I will never cease to voice my anger over punishing the kids with inane testing just so the big-people grownups can say (somehow) that they are holding the little-people teachers accountable.

    It is similarly negative to say that I will back those teachers (like yourself, dude) who think and try things “outside the box”? That I will point out that some grown-up who sits in an office separated by miles and years from the children he/she oversees is in no position to judge what Derek Oldfield, who has shown without question that HE puts kids first, does in his classroom in his never-ending effort to reach those kids who our current educational model has never reached?

    Well, I won’t be writing a “Why I Quit Teaching” blog. Ain’t gonna’ happen. I will never give up on the kids. On the other hand, I might have to write a “Why They Fired Me” article!

    • Thanks for your response! I think you bring up a good point… How do educators use their voice to impact change while also promoting the amazing work that extraordinary, kid-first teachers are doing on a daily basis? When you consider the “noise” on social media concerning education, would you consider it more positive or more negative? I hope no one reads my post and reconsiders using their voice to impact change, speak up, and push-back against those institutions that aren’t kid-first. Rather, I think most educators, if asked to reflect on the general “noise” concerning education on social media, would agree that they could play a part in diluting the negativity surrounding our profession. I hope my post serves as motivation for some to consider voicing, publicly, more of those examples you shared as an effort to change impact the rhetoric surrounding this profession to which we’ve both committed our hearts. But again, you’ve got me thinking, what is the best way for educators to stand up for each other and raise their voice against the increasing number of issues that impact our abilities to better reach our students?

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