Monday, October 27, 2014

Too Much Positivity?

A couple people got me thinking recently.

First, I read a fantastic, reflective post titled The Downside to Being a Connected Educator by @pernilleripp. In the piece, she talks about how connected educators CAN:

  • feel the need to be perfect
  • get a big head
  • think there is only one right way

I was struck by the simplicity and honesty. There is truth in those words.

Second, I went to San Gabriel Valley Cue's Tech Fair. In a session led by @jenwagner, we talked about how teachers share. It was pretty wide open and the small group had some great discussion. Jen, a very connected educator,  wondered out loud if teachers on Twitter were trapped in a bubble, suffering from a bias of 'watch me, I am a great educator.'

Once again, truth in those words.

So, I thought about it for a few days. Are teachers being too positive when the share on social media, especially Twitter and blogs?

I thought about myself. I often share my greatest successes, best lessons, and exciting experiences. This doesn't mean I am the best teacher, I could never claim to be. I struggle. I fail. I have discipline issues. I am not very organized. I often get lost in my big ideas.

But it feels very good to not always concentrate on the hard parts of being a teacher. It is empowering to share my voice with others. It keeps me focused on the very best parts of teaching. I think we personally focus way too much on the little failures in the classroom. We rack our brains when a student doesn't complete an assignment, or when a kid 'misbehaves' in class. Sometimes we forget that the student who missed an assignment completed ten others to finish a truly amazing project. Sometimes we forget the student that 'misbehaved' one day, was engaged and interested the other four.

Sometimes we forget that we are doing a really good job.

It helps to see others doing a great job. It helps to see their successes and reflect on how I could be better.  Focusing on getting better seems a whole lot more practical than accentuating all the mistakes I make. Learning is all about failing and making improvements. When we share with other teachers, we acknowledge this process. Even if it is not explicit, most share because at one point in time, they weren't so successful. Maybe I will ask for more help on my mistakes, but in the end I am thankful to learn for all the educators I follow and read. They help me get better.

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