Recently, Scott Mcleod, blogged a very thought-provoking post, Are We Edubloggers too Harsh on Our Kids’ Teachers?
My initial thoughts….
As a teacher, I remember throughout my career parents who griped at me about something I didn’t do to their standards. It’s part of the job and I believe this will continue to happen throughout my career. Just the other day a great educator tweeted a parent withdrew his son from his class because he used technology. How many of us get the third degree from parents, administrators, and other teachers for using technology in our curriculum? I bet many of us, because not all are on board and they have their presumptions. Dealing with parents is part of our job. The way I take it is that I rather have parents who care so much to be involved in their child’s education than not at all.
I think we should expect educators and administrators to prepare students for their future successfully. They don’t necessarily have to use web 2.0 tools, but the majority of the curriculum shouldn’t be students completing worksheets, buried in a textbook for hours, or filling out and being prepared for bubble tests. I want my child’s teacher to inspire a passion for continuously learning or to nurture my child’s curiosity. I don’t want my child to hate or be bored with learning. I don’t want my child to be conditioned to think there is only one correct answer to a question, accept rules that have never been explained or else, or to be brainwashed into believing that achievement in life is measured by how well they perform on tests that measure how well you perform lower-level skills and not creativity.
It’s not about the technology….
I’ve seen teachers motivate students to learn without much technology and I applaud them for being passionate and motivating students. What is important is if the child is engaged, problem-solving, and learning how to collaborate with their peers. Yes, I would want the educators who I communicate with on Twitter, Facebook, through this blog, and other online tools to teach my child not because you use technology or know what I mean when I write Glogster, Wikis, Voicethread, Web 2.0, avatar….
I would want you to teach my child, because…
- you’re passionate about educating and motivating your students
- you engage in professional development almost daily
- you love to learn from other educators
- you love to be inspired and inspire others
- you collaborate with educators worldwide and get your students to collaborate with their students
I don’t know why we expect parents to stay silent when it comes to their own children, especially if they are also educators. Educators are preparing children to be future CEOs, engineers, politicians, teachers, and more. Being an educator is a serious calling and if we treat it like less then we don’t give it that respect.
Being a green dot….
I’m not advocating that educators in our Personal Learning Networks (PLN) should tell teachers their instructional practices are crap. Instead, I like Kelly Tenkely’s recent post, Be the Green Dot, which was inspired by this incredible post by Seth Godin, How Big is Your Red Zone?. Seth Godin and Kelly illustrate 3 graphs which I have embedded below. These graphs show how teachers not in our PLN react to learning about the innovative practices we are exposed to often by having ongoing professional development from our peers. A majority of educators do not participate in online educator communities so they experience an initial frustration when we share with them resources, links, blog posts, and tools (see the red graph). However, these educators do eventually experience joy (see the blue graph) when they get the hang of it and discover effective ways to engage students. The red zone in the last graph shows the gap between the initial hassle and the joy. This is the critical period when educators are resistant to us sharing with them the innovative practices we are exposed to daily. They believe we are hassling them and often make this very clear in their behavior toward us.
So how do we get these educators to the point where they feel joy about learning about these innovative practices?
Seth Godin writes in his blog:
My contention is that the only reason we ever get through that gap is that someone on the other side (the little green circle) is rooting us on, or telling us stories of how great it is on the other side. The bigger your red zone, the louder your green dot needs to be. Every successful product or passion is either easy to get started on or comes with a built-in motivator to keep you moving until you’re in. This is so easy to overlook, because of course you’re already in…
That green dot is you and me! Our PLN are the green dots that need to be loud with our motivation!
A final thought….
Yes, we should definitely share with teachers, administrators, and staff resources to help them with their professional development and have them become part of the conversation. We should root them on when they try new things and encourage to persist, eventually, they will learn and they will be better educators for the development. No, we shouldn’t be silent. We are preparing children to someday be in charge of their world! A caring parent’s role is to ensure his/her child is prepared to take the reigns armed with the creativity, imagination, tenacity to search for solutions, and collaborative skills needed.
Let’s be green dots and motivate loudly with passion and share resources with those not in our PLN.
What are your ideas and resources on motivating educators who do not participate in educator communities (PLNs)?