Obviously I am a huge advocate of social media and it’s transformative use for the learning that can happen both in and out of school. But there was just something that blew me away about Shannon Smith’s opening letter to parents that she shared on her blog that actually took it to another level. I thought back to my first day as a principal and how one parent had said to me, “I looked everywhere and asked people about information for you, but I couldn’t find anything!” I was thrown off by that statement at the time but looking back, it makes sense. Why wouldn’t a parent want to know about the new principal who could have a massive impact on her child’s present and future in either a positive or negative way? It was not that I was trying to avoid parents, but I simply really had no idea about social media and how I could share who I was or what I was learning. Shannon does both:
My background includes a strong focus on Special Education and I have taught in the Primary, Junior, Intermediate and Senior divisions. You are welcome to check out all of my qualifications on my Ontario College of Teacher’s record….The Principal of a school is first and foremost the lead learner. As such, I continually seek ways to expand my knowledge of how children learn and which instructional practices best meet their diverse needs. For those interested, I share my ongoing learning at shannoninottawa.com.
I love that many administrators are either sharing their opening message to their staff or mentoring others on how they can welcome back their staff. This creates an environment where openness and transparency are shown at the beginning of the school year and set the tone for an environment and culture built upon trust. All of these principals are saying, “Here I am! Check me out! Learn with me!”, which is a pretty powerful way to start their year.
Here’s the light bulb moment that I had reading Shannon’s post…
I am wondering does social media not only connects us to learn with one another, but does it also push us to do better work in the first place?
If the work that Shannon and others were doing was not strong, it would be exposed pretty quick. I know that it is important to show that we are on a continuous learning journey and that we need to be comfortable in our growth, but I think social media pushes us to share and do some awesome work. I know that I find there is a huge benefit in connecting through social media, but do we want our students just throwing out anything?
The reality is that many educators are very modest about what they do and might not believe that the great work that they are doing is worth sharing, but we have to realize that we are often our own harshest critic. I love the video below to help educators see that what they share, can be helpful to others whether they think it or not:
So I am bouncing the idea in my head that sharing alone isn’t enough. We should still expect some thought and effort in the work that we put out there. There is value in the “filter, then publish” mindset, so where is that medium and balance?