Mini-revolutions and Reach

In goal 1 of the 30 Goals Challenge we did Me Manifestos but I never crafted mine. You can read over 25 manifestos of teachers worldwide here. I finally began to draft my manifesto. Here it goes…

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.

About Mini-revolutions

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.

Challenge:

Read the other manifestos. They are so inspiring!

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Facebook.com/shellyterrell. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.

7 thoughts on “Mini-revolutions and Reach

  1. Hi Shelly,

    What a post! I could hear the triumphant sound of the brass band playing in the back ground as I read that last paragraph.

    Well said. I think it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day once back in reality after being inspired by either a conference, webinar or blog post. I find that at work, there are a few of us who actively take part in a PLN, or who follow paths of CPD on a regular basis, but the rest of my colleagues are not interested. And that’s ok. But it makes you feel like you can’t be “into it” yourself sometimes. A bit like being at school as a child and not wanting to look too keen. You know?

    But, I do love my job, and I want to be a better teacher, and I want to help my students attain their goals. Therefore I DO try to infect other teachers, but it’s not an easy task. Especially when we aren’t paid much for what we do, and many don’t see their involvement past what happens in the classroom. And even then, maybe it’s the students’ fault, not theirs.

    But with educators such as yourself out there making a difference, it gives us all the motivation to continue and to be better and to achieve the best we can.

    Thank you for your hard work in this industry. You are truly a star.

    Jem x

    1. Hi Jemma
      I totally agree with you. You are describing what I have gone through recently; I was very inspired by the Iatefl Glasgow conference, I was overhauling my ELT journey and determined to reboot. But once on the spot , I encountered an endless number of hindering factors. I felt like an armless veteran on the battle field.
      I do need help.

      1. Thank you Jemma & Mouna for replying. One of the reasons I wrote this is because the teachers I met in Toulouse said the same as well as teachers worldwide. We get so excited about what we learned and we want to be pumped up teachers who go into our classrooms inspired but outside of our PLN we don’t get support and many of our colleagues rain on our parade so to speak. They aren’t enthused and sometimes hostile. They just don’t get it. I’ve been there, done that. I’ve given free workshops and training where one person showed up. It crushes the spirit and often you have to rely on a voice within that says I’m doing this for my learners. This is one reason I decided to go freelance this year and speak to teachers in the hopes I could encourage them to at least get one person on board because our PLN is amazing but at the end of the day it always helps to have a friend on staff. It always helps to see a face regularly in our school that is on the same wavelength and I know these things make a difference. It’s just that sometimes we don’t find out till years later. It’s like a plant. We plant the seeds and we have to wait for it to grow. Eventually it does and the flowers it bears will spread seeds wherever the wind blows them and we never know how far our reach will go. Thank you both for sharing your views.

  2. Hi Shelly, thank you so much for the mention in this post. You are an amazing inspiration to me and countless teachers around the world, so to think my little comment could inspire you is mind-blowing!!

    I completely agree with what you say, and I call on all the teachers reading this to take up your call to arms. We, the teachers, should be front and centre when it comes to deciding the shape of education in the future. We need to stand up and face the lack of cooperation from those who don’t know our students head on. We need to consider our professionalism as an ethical standpoint which cannot be broken. This is the only way the politicians and administrators will listen to us, and how we can bring other less motivated teachers on board. We need to grasp the future! Thanks for inspiring us to begin this process.

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