I have been thinking a lot about the word “trajectory” and it’s relevance to what we do in education. Every interaction we have with so many, changes trajectory in some way, similar to the idea of the “butterfly effect”. As someone who speaks, I think about this a lot and what I hope happens in my talks. I hope for a positive upward change from those interactions that we have in workshops or talks, and that someone does something better after our encounter. This can be a tricky thing when we want to push someone’s thinking. Their is a fine balance between challenging someone while also still showing that you value their thoughts as well as their journey. Sometimes our actions, wrong words, or phrasing might push someone into the negative, even though that was never the intention. My hope is that I can do everything I can to change trajectories for the positive. Sometimes it might be a blip, sometimes it could be a large leap, but as long as it is positive, I am happy.
I think about how educators are these trajectory changers. How those daily interactions may not always lead to a positive, but overall, the best educators make an impact on students long after their time in their classrooms. I remember so many teachers that I have had that made such a positive impact on me, and sometimes, it was after the fact, thinking about what they had done to go out of their way for me but I did not realize until I grew up. Sometimes the impact is not instant, but it eventually comes. Educators are trajectory changes, always. The only thing that matters is whether or not that change is positive or negative.
You could say this is of any profession, but in education, our impact on a daily basis with so many, alters their destination which can alter so many others. My good friend Holly Clark, recently shared an email that she received from a participant at a conference after speaking in South Africa:
I had to sit and type you a quick email to tell you how excited I am about changes I have made in my class.
I attended the ICT conference in Kloof (KwaZulu Natal, South Africa) at the beginning of the school holidays. I actually attended two of your workshops and listened really carefully to your keynote address.
Although we are a “tablet/device” school, I was noticing that our girls were choosing to leave their devices at home, as they weren’t using them at school. Which is SO sad and frustrating! Many teachers battle to integrate the devices, and I think that I have had a light bulb moment when I say it isn’t about the APPS! It’s about finding a way of incorporating the technology to make it work for you.
I arrived back this term with a renewed energy. Firstly, I rearranged my desks and we now sit in groups, we engage and it is fantastic! New rule… devices on desks! When I teach – students may take notes and then we save to Google Drive! Google Drive has changed my life!!
I have many girls using it! YAY!!! My Grade 9s have already submitted their brainstorming ideas into a shared Drive Folder and I am marking it from my PC. The excitement when they realised that I had received and looked at it was quite cute. At school we have a “library of devices” so girls who don’t have them can use ones I have in my classroom. These were gathering dust in a storeroom and not being used. Not anymore!
You cannot believe the energy and excitement in my classroom! A student commented today when she looking at my chart of apps we use in my class and said “Finally a teacher who understands us and is allowing us to use our devices for learning!”
Attaching a few pics!Thank you so much for inspiring me!
Holly is one of the kindest, humblest , and most authentic people that I know, and what I was reminded of in this email is that educators don’t just teach stuff, but they connect with people. It was not only the willingness of Holly to share information, but more importantly, how she did it. This participant left feeling that they could change the world, and I guarantee they are for their students, because that is what great educators do. Holly’s impact on him, will now impact so many students, who will impact so many others. The ripple effect is endless.
You can be the smartest person in the world, but if we forget how we communicate and who we do this work for, it doesn’t matter what we know. Great educators make a positive change in trajectory with so many others and I am proud to work with so many great people that do this every single day.