I saw this great tweet the other night, one of the best I’ve seen in a while:
@PinkneyMichael sums up so clearly and succinctly, the way good tweets do, how many in education feel. How I feel. There is no way of knowing where this revolution ends. And yet, we continue.
What pushes me forward in the shift is the clarity of my WHY.
Without fail, the more evidence, studies, and statistics I encounter WHAT I do in the classroom is changed. It is shifted. HOW I approach each class is different. As I read, think and reflect more on my practice, I make the philosophical and the realistic approaches needed to respond more clearly to my WHY.
What I also admire and respect about this tweet is that it reminds me that the most authentic responses are often those of vulnerability. Belonging to a community, especially one online, is to offer thoughts, questions, reflections and ideas which often are at the scrutiny of many.
I posted a Tweet in the middle of class today.
It contained an error. A grammar error. A small error, none of my students picked up on it.
My friend did though. She picked it up almost instantly. She corrected me for all my students to see.
The real story is that she corrected me instantly, from Ghana. From around the world, she was able to see what I was doing in my class and be a part of it.
It was that simple.
Anyone who tries to say that the internet and our connectedness hasn’t changed things is completely wrong.
My classroom door is open. Radically open.
The possibilities for my students are immense. They have an opportunity to stream the TED conference happening in Palm Beach live, in class. They can hear and learn from experts in the field. They can hear new ideas and witness what is happening anywhere in the world.
On the other hand, the world can be part of my class. They can ‘walk’ right in. I’m hoping to have @erinantcliffe join my class as she talks about the work she is doing in Ghana with Engineers without Borders.
For many teachers, that might be the scariest of thoughts. You never know who is watching. For me, it’s liberating. It allows my students access to the world. Connection and community.
The only thing I have to worry about is … my grammar.
Today I had my students read an article. It was an inciting article that labelled them, my students, part of the dumbest generation. The article was from a reputable source, Newsweek, and decried many aspects of their lives.
Then I put them to Twitter.
“it’s not the students’ fault; it’s the teachers’. if we’re not being taught the material, how are we supposed to know?” @alicephilipp
“the quote at the bottom of the article was made up in 1905. obviously the problem has been around for a while. it’s not recent.” @alicephilipp
“even though there is no evidence that the new technoligy is to blame I strongly think that it is to blame.” @littlewrestler1
“I think it’s kind of hypocritical when adults complain about the present generation because they raised this generation..” @beccasnarr_
“maybe kids reply “huh” to certain references because they’re about boring things that don’t interest us.” @beccasnarr_
The responses were somewhat expected. Then the re-tweeting happened. This encouraged students to not only write for an audience, but it was authentic feedback that they wrote something, meaningful. There was an obvious sense of pride for some who were re-tweeted.
It did accelerate my thinking that students are ready to go to the next level. We may be responsible for “dumbing it down”. The conversations, both online and offline, reminded me that they were still hungry. They felt a sense of low expectations.
It reminded me to keep raising my expectations.
It showed me that a Twitter conversation, even in its 140 character limit, could be extremely powerful. When else does pith and language construction get celebrated as much.
This was effort one, in a closed environment, watch out world I’m going to be building this up.
Somedays it can be lonely. Isolating. When searching through the throngs of students and teachers to find someone who is “on your side”.
Students don’t know any better. They are reactionaries. They rarely will be the ones to ask for change. They act for change. They act out for change.
Teachers on the other hand. They know better, or at least they should know better. So, somedays when it seems like I’m hitting wall after wall. Finding land mine after land mine, it is nice to find the comrades.
Sometimes it feels like we’re all undercover. Not wanting to make too many waves, don’t let too many people know what you are doing to put students in the middle. Pushing the agenda. Most do it in their classrooms and don’t venture out for fear of vitirol, or worse another wall. They just do it.
I’m trying to find my comrades and get them vocal.
Today, I found another. He has nestled a place of true collaboration, creativity, and flexibility in his classroom. I didn’t know about it until I heard some students talking about it, about him. They were saying things like, “He gives you the choice.” “Just ask him, he’ll consider anything.” “He isn’t just about doing what you’re told, he’s about following hunches.”
I didn’t get a chance to talk to him. But I will. I’m going to tell him I know his secret. That it’s safe with me. I’m going to let him know that we are comrades in arms.
Let the revolution continue!
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.