My Me Manifesto
It starts with a choice. Each time we interact with our learners they will leave either with a piece of knowledge they feel motivated to continue exploring or treat as a fact they must know just to pass. They will leave feeling motivated to continue learning, exploring, experimenting, or they will feel as if learning is tedious, boring, and too difficult. They will either feel as if the teacher made a connection with them or that the teacher doesn’t care about them. We make an impact, we leave an impression, we drop seeds each time we encounter our learners. I choose to treat each of these learning moments as an opportunity to create an impact and doing this means I have to continuously feel motivated, inspired and equipped to make that opportunity an impact. Without my Personal/Passionate Learning Network I wouldn’t have been so aware of the impact I make and I cringe each time I think about the times I took this for granted.
I’ve been traveling a lot for the past year visiting teachers in Thailand, Canada, Brazil, Japan, France, the US, and the UK. I’ve been traveling for the last year to various countries training teachers worldwide, attending conferences, and learning from them. This post was inspired by two teachers who made me think about what it means to be a teacher. One was Adam Beale (@Bealer81), who in his inspiring presentation at IATEFL, reflected that what he had learned after his first year of teaching was that it’s about starting mini-revolutions in our classrooms. The other was a conversation I had with James Taylor (@TheTeacherJames) who told me, “I believe it’s my duty as a teacher to share.” I’ve heard so many inspiring ideas like these from educators worldwide. I’ve seen incredible lessons they do with their learners, and I’ve listened to their passionate stories of the ways they’ve stirred their students. I believe we are onto grassroots movements. I’ve seen mini-revolutions start and I’ve helped start and support some mini-revolutions, such as Edchat, the Reform Symposium E-Conference, the 30 Goals Challenge, ELTChat, the Virtual Round Table Conference, and more. Education will transform and nearly a million educators on social networks are getting excited and spreading the message of what education should be. Recently, I talked in Toulouse about kids changing their world through ICTs and the words of one of these world changers is my message to you. These are the wise words of Talia Leman, 15 year-old creator of RandomKid.org (I’ve adapted the words a bit to match this context):
“What makes this group different from other (educators) out there? The only thing that separates us from any other group out there is simply our choices. Your choices and you, because it is your choices that are changing the world and you’ve chosen to be the kind of people that (teacher) heroes are made of.”
And you, dear reader, have made a choice. You made the choice to read this post and you make choices to read other blogs, attend webinars, interact with other educators in social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), and share your experiences with others as well. You choose to be a continuous learner because you want to be a better educator for your learners. And I know sometimes you feel just like me, that you are a different breed of educator. And I know sometimes you wonder if you will ever successfully infect those around you. And I know sometimes you question whether education policy will ever improve. We want transformation. We want education systems worldwide to provide opportunities for our learners to explore their creativity and curiosity. We want our leaders to support us with policy that allows us to really teach. We get so frustrated because we come from conferences, reading blogs, attending webinars, watching a TEDTalk and we feel inspired but when we share others are not so enthused. I want to tell you to try and at least infect one, because if you infect one teacher then you have helped them inspire the 1000s of students that they will interact with. You will have caused them to make a choice, the same one you do almost daily, to become passionate continuous learners and in this you will have started a mini-revolution and your reach will be beyond that one teacher. Your reach will be spread to 1000s of learners who one day will also spread the idea that living life is about learning, being curious, improving the world, and paying the passion forward.
Read the other manifestos. They are so inspiring!
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