Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Cut the cool card...even online

I recently had a conversation with a co-worker about twitter.  I was sharing how it and other social media has helped me become a better teacher.  She agreed that that was possible but her experience was that often the posts were simply showboating or lofty quotes.  Not really that useful to her.

She had a point.  Who wants to scroll through a bunch of people putting on their best, eliciting a response of either some kind of disdain or jealousy?  Who wants to have the idea that you could (and should) be better than you are thrown at you.  That caused me to wonder: how could two people's experiences be so different?  What is it about the posts I focus on that lead me to be a better teacher, a better person?

I began to reflect back to posts that recently had affected me, that led me to respond and change.  I didn't have to look very far.  Within the last weeks several posts stood out to me.  These were not the posts of jaw dropping successes but more so of risks, and failures (some quite drastic), and vulnerability.  It was the sharing of these that stirred me, affected me, and led me to act, to respond.  I share them here.  And I implore you: be real.  Be real online; be real in your communities, in your home.  It is that reality that makes THE difference. . .that makes A difference.

Share Setbacks

A couple of days ago, I stumbled onto a post by Roni Loren -- Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog - My Story. I had to tweet it out.

In her post, Roni was open about a situation that happened to her.  She took her readers through the story of this huge setback and how she learned from it.  There were no excuses.  Punches weren't pulled.  And she had me.  I poured through her recommendations; I evaluated my practices; I made personal commitments.

I also recently commented on Chris Kennedy's Culture of Yes blog: The Size of the Device. He shared about a leadership discussion he had with a class of Grade 11's and 12's.  His lesson didn't go as planned and though his blog was focused on device size, he readily admitted he could have been more engaging and put more effort into classroom management.  The superintendent of West Vancouver School District admitted he could have been better.  Not only does that draw me in but it adds credibility to what he says.

Take Risks

Another thing that pushed me to act was this vid tweet here:

George talks about it here: New Project: #EDUin30.  He had an idea to use the new twitter video feature to prompt educators to share their ideas.  He admitted: "To be honest, it felt a little uncomfortable to share myself in a video. That was actually kind of the point. To stretch myself in this format as well."  I can appreciate that.  And it was a great idea.  I, and many other educators, jumped on this.  I loved hearing what others were doing in this new format.  And I was able to share of myself looking at a camera, which is a little more exposing than a tweet or blog post.  But it was the idea that he was stretching himself and taking a risk that drew me in.  It is seeing these kinds of risks over and over again that lead me to take more risks in my classroom, in my life.

Be Vulnerable

This morning I read Dean Shareski's post: My Community Story.  In it he re-caps his last ten years of making connections.  One thing he says here:
While the journey and story of community continues I realize once again why we share. Those that read this story and relate are sharers too. They’ve been vulnerable enough at some point to take a chance and participate in community. They’ve been able to tell stories of moments that made them realize they weren’t alone, stories of insights they would never have considered, stories of people that have made a difference in their lives. - Dean Shareski

Dean lives it out.  He seems to be a cheerleader of vulnerability.  Just yesterday, he applauded Beth Woof who shared of something she did that she knew she could have done better in her post: I wish I hadn't reacted so quickly....  Vulnerability begets vulnerability.  And this leads to change.  Thanks Dean for beckoning us to share, instilling in us the notion that we are not alone.

 A while back I had read this tweet by Chris Wejr.  I couldn't agree more.

To me, we can't share change unless we are open with the before and the after, the successes and the failures.  When I was a kid, we had this saying: cut the cool card.  It basically meant: be real.  We're all human so don't take yourself so seriously.  We all put our pants on one leg at a time.  In this new era of social media, the need to be genuine hasn't changed a bit.

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