I need to nail this stuff down on the local level.

I love writing and sharing, and while I don’t profess to have a “great process” for getting it out there, I willingly share my practices, both success and failure, with anyone who cares to listen. That being said, and after listening to Clarence and Darren on Friday morning as they laid out the real possibilities that our teachers and students have before them, I know I live in perpetual beta. What that means for me is that, yes, I will continue to write about my personal struggles and successes with motivating today’s student and helping teachers understand changes that can help their instruction and effectiveness, but I will keep things close to my vest too.

Before I get up there and share like mad and give it away, I want to run it through the ringer here. I went to BLC with our administrative team, and my focus was on finding ways to make the goals we had set work well. That meant that we worked together almost exclusively. I missed sharing with some of the people there, but I felt the conversation pieces were lacking (or not built into the conference like at EduCon). My first priority in all of this is to the people I work with and for, the students, teachers, and parents in my district. Until I feel a sense of accomplishment within the audience of that crowd, I am finding it difficult to begin to share our practices. In other words, I don’t want to just get in front of people and talk about the cool things we do with this tool or that tool. I want to give the people I am fortunate enough to share with solid methods and practices they can go back and share with their students, teachers and parents. That hasn’t arrived for me yet.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve accomplished some wonderful things, and we are really trying to up the ante this year with our staff at every building; however, where’s the proof that what we are doing is better? or at least creating fascination and wonder on the part of both teacher and student? I need that before I jump out of beta and into limited release.

Image Credit: “Goatopolis-v2 (beta:Matthew Broderick)” from Goatopolis’ Photostream
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4 thoughts on “I need to nail this stuff down on the local level.

  1. Patrick,
    You are fortunate that so many from your team attended BLC. I envision you were able to have rich discussions and reflections.
    In any case, do you really need to nail it all down first? What is the alternative? – sticking with methods (textbooks, lecture, sage on the stage, etc.) that were never validated to begin with and yet we all acquiesced to their use. What else did we have? Now we have tools and instructional methods that go far beyond what we could ever have imagined even a few short years ago.
    You will never have it nailed down – just continue doing what you know challenges your students in an engaging way.
    It is the best time ever to be a teacher!

  2. I wish we had had more time to chat at BLC this year.

    This is an observation, not a criticism: as I read your post, I kept hearing a voice in my head, say over and over, “you get what you give.”

    I think you’ll find other educators fascinated not only by your successes but by your failures. When you share a work in progress you’re likely to elicit the thoughtful contributions of other interested educators: together you can build a better pedagogy. This is how the TED Conference is structured (and why it is so successful); people working on the cutting edge in their fields of expertise sharing their ideas in the rough.

    I don;t know if you’ve read Dean Shareski’s post: Lesson #1. It might apply here too. 😉

    Thanks for the kind words about the workshop Clarence and I did.

    Cheers!
    Darren

  3. Karen/Darren

    Here’s my new catch phrase that my colleagues are going to get sick of, thanks to Karen: “It’s the best time ever to be a teacher!”

    Judging from the response from both of you, I think I missed the mark on this one. Where this stream of thought came from was from a conversation with someone at BLC where I was asked why I wasn’t presenting or sharing what we’ve been doing more often. It got under my skin, I think, and in a good way. I am trying to make sense of what we are doing here, and one of my biggest fears is that we’ve got too many teachers doing it just to do it–to use technology for the sake of using technology.

    In actuality, my role begins at that point now, whereas in my former position I was the introducer of the tool, now I am the person who takes it from there. I need to be able to help teachers transcend what we already do. Seeing Darren’s example in person truly made that more practical for me.

    I like Darren’s idea of “you get what you give,” and I know the post may have come across as closed, but I understand the need to be open.

    Thanks for the responses.

  4. It’s hard to judge sometimes, what to share and what to hold back on. In my view, everything is an experiment, as we try to figure out what works and doesn’t. When posting I hesitate a little because I am not sure what the outcome is yet, did some real learning take place or was the knowledge lost in the whole process?

    For me, when I look back at what I am writing about and who I am writing for…it’s me. I get excited when there are comments and someone in Brazil has went to my blog, but what I am writing is for me. I publish it to the web to open it up for others to read and share their insights from previous experiments they have participated in.

    My thoughts, share (everything).

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