Amplifying Minds

Learning and Growing Together

I’m an Idea Person–You’re the Writer

Some of us are better at some things than others…and if we’re lucky, we know it.  I’ve had teacher friends over the years that I would go to with specific questions, and I’ve had others who come to me for help in certain areas. What’s wonderful is when we both know those strengths and share openly, honestly and in ways that help the other person grow. You see, I believe we should help each other just as much as we try to help our students. The people we work with are there to do the same thing we are–so when we work together towards common goals, the whole community benefits.

I’ve worked with folks before who act like a crab from the crab pot theory. (I think that came from Larry Lezotte.)  But when I get stuck in that position, I work to get out of it as soon as I can.  Life is simply too short to spend time with people who only think of bringing others down.

So, I enjoy finding folks who have strengths I don’t, so I can learn from and grow with them. That’s an awesome reason to join the Twitterverse, and to be online in a variety of venues. It was through Twitter I first really felt the isolation of the classroom diminish…It was from Twitter that I met so many new friends way back in 2009 at ISTE, (which was then NECC).

But at some point, I distanced myself a bit from Twitter to go into my school system to bring others online. I know there are people on Twitter because of me. There are people now working in our county that wouldn’t be working here if not for me. But that’s not what’s important to me.

I have watched a ton of folks, both within and outside of my county learn to use social media of all kinds to grow and learn–some much better than I have. But, I continue to learn, grow, try new things and interact with others to get better for my kids. That’s what’s important.

I often run blog posts by others for an opinion.  I’m blessed in that I have a bunch of critical friends I can call upon to do that for me. Recently, as I was listening to feedback from a specific friend, she was waxing eloquent about the topic.  I told her she needed to write about the topic, not me, and her response was, “I’m the idea person, you’re the writer.”

What?  Why would anyone say something like that?

But as I thought about what she had said,  I realized it’s partially true….she provokes me to think and reflect and put things together in unique ways. She builds up my knowledge base and challenges me to think differently. She IS an idea person–but she is also a writer, a thinker, a scaffold and a support beam for many people.  She’s humble, asks amazing questions and has integrity…a true educator.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could surround ourselves with people who are such catalysts?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all be that kind of an educator?

So now my question is, how do we build confidence in our children (or our friends) when they classify themselves as only a writer, or a mathematician, or a reader, or worse yet, NOT a writer, or NOT a “math person”, or NOT a reader? How do we structure our classes, and more importantly, our learning experiences, to be inclusive and allow everyone to stretch themselves, wherever they are?

I’m wondering how to help make learning accessible in all classrooms and why it’s taken us so long to realize just how bad we are at that much of the time? What’s our commitment to changing and getting rid of the sorting and selecting? What are our next steps to support learning–of all kinds and about all topics and in depth and for personal reasons and to share passions?  What’s our dedication to opening our processes of learning to allow for personal leadership, inner wonder, dedicated questioning and resilient searching and building and making?

I’m looking for ideas as I write to learn…

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