If you have read my blog before you are aware of my love for Twitter and more importantly the Twitter chat. It has been a great source of professional development in the last year. I have met amazing educators, learned many lessons, discovered great books, blogs, and podcast. Tonight there is a chat that will be co-moderated by the amazing Dr. Mary Howard and Evan and Laura Robb. Amazing educators and cheerleaders for those of us trying to find our own greatness. The theme of the #NYEDCHAT is Finding our Greatness and just pondering the questions has me considering the question. What is my “greatness” What in the last year or 8 have I discovered about myself? More importantly what have I done to help foster this realization for my students?
If I would identify a greatness in myself it would be my passion for learning and teaching. I am by no means an “expert” teacher, if we are to follow the example of Dr. Mary (and I would suggest we do) no one should claim expert status as it indicates a finish line has been reached and that means growth slows done or stops. That said I do try very hard to be a good one, to help my students learn and be enthusiastic about it because they see how excited I am to talk about the things we are doing. I have not always had this positive growth mindset, in my past life I did not have people that cheered me on, supported my voice and built up my greatness so it was easier to recognize. I, of course, had my wife and parents but I think there is a degree in all of us that sees the support of close loved ones as “obligation” support, it sustains us but does not always push us to new levels. For me this year I have found this greatness by the helping hands of new colleagues, be it twitter, or my new school, I have found it with the kind words of my students and I have found it by allowing myself to see that I am doing my best to improve, to keep learning, growing and exploring new areas that in the past I would have just said, “I can’t do this” or even worse believing those who said I could not do it, that I was not good enough. To find my greatness I had to push the mute button on those voices and it was the help of others that gave me the courage to do that.
This reflection has helped me see the importance that we as teachers have in providing the support our students need to find their own greatness. It is not enough just to guide, we need to celebrate, we need to lift our students when they need it. Give them room to explore and discover their greatness then support them in whatever way we can. Just like us our students will fall, they might slip along the way. I look back at a time when I was in scouts (not my deal at all, but my parents made me do it) and I was climbing the side of a shale hill. Each step I took the rocks would give away slipping a little from under my feet, my friends at the top of the ridge were cheering me on but my progress was minimal at best. As I struggled to reach the top I looked up to a couple hands extended, that little extra that helped me get to my goal. Standing on top of that ridge overlooking “Two-Lakes” I still remember the sense of accomplishment. I didn’t do it alone but that is part of the lesson I learned.
Greatness is not always realized without the support and help of others. With the support of friends I achieve greatness, I want to be that support for my students. To be that little nudge when they need it through, words or deeds we should all be working together to find and develop our greatest us, whatever that may be.
Come join the chat tonight at #NYEDCHAT there will be inspiring people aplenty and all of our greatness will be amplified by the community of learners working together.