I loved how Kristen Swanson closed #edcampusa with this message:
We have a responsibility to share.
Share your stories
Don’t let it die here
And it’s true. We learn and grow through our own reflections and from those of others. But sometimes our “modesty” prevents us from sharing our work. Jerry Swiatek (@jswiatek) brought this up in the first #edcampusa session I attended. Sometimes sharing feels like bragging. I’ve written about this in the past, and it’s often something that holds me back. I have the hardest time with my own colleagues at school, who I respect so much. In fact, I think that sharing great things that are happening right at my own school is one of the things we do really poorly! We tend to hear the great work of a couple of teachers, who are less shy about showcasing their successful projects. But others of us really struggle with that whole sharing versus bragging thing.
One of my goals this year was to help us showcase great work at my school. I successfully started up a “Sharing Best Practices” PLN, with a goal to have informal share-outs of best practices and stories of success/challenges. In addition to encouraging and supporting growth in our teaching, the hope was that these informal meetings would inspire collaboration (cross-department and cross-divisionally) with a better awareness of what our colleagues were working on.
In my first year as technology coordinator for the Upper School, it was also my goal to help highlight projects – both within my own school and out to my personal PLN (though my blog and twitter). For each big project that I worked on with a colleague, I worked with the teacher to write up the learning goals of the assignment and a reflection on what went well and what would be done differently in the future. Documenting this process led to a great discussion, but also allowed us to create a bank of resources (post publicly through our LMS) to inspire other teachers at our school and spark some ideas. I have begun sharing some of these posts on my personal blog, to get feedback from others that might strengthen the project in the future and also to hopefully inspire some ideas.
Project Showcase #1 – Using EDpuzzle To Analyze A Streetcar Named Desire
Project Showcase #2 – Using VideoScribe to Give Advice to the Next Generation of International Students
Project Showcase #3 – Using PowToon to Capture Imagery, Mood, and Tone in Huck Finn
Project Showcase #4 – Using ChronoZoom for French Revolution Analysis Projects
A couple more to come here… stay tuned :)
So the next time you are hesitant to post an idea – thinking maybe it’s not ‘good enough’ or ‘unique enough’ or that you don’t want to come across as ‘bragging’ – remember that we all rely on each other’s ideas for personal growth. We are teachers, after all. Sharing stories with our students is what we do to help take them to the next level. We owe the same growth opportunities to our colleagues.