Note: So, I have no idea if anyone actually reads these posts. Perhaps they are more for me and my own personal reflection than anything else, and that's just fine and dandy. If you know me well, you probably know that I am hyper-reflective. I replay conversations over and over again, and think about interactions over and over again. Things bug me (in a good way), and I will continually process them until I feel like I can move on. I think it's part of what makes me a really good educator. I'm always thinking about my practice and what I could do differently next time. This post today is about one of those interactions that bugged me and that I've not stopped thinking about all afternoon.
The last two days I've attended a very informative and potentially very powerful training centered on the work of Professor John Hattie called Visible Learning. As I shared in yesterday's blog post, Dr. Hattie's work seriously looks at educational research to see what practices work well and which don't. It's really a pretty easy concept to understand and it provokes really good conversation about our practice. Make no bones about it, the information is valuable and every educator should have the opportunity to actively participate in this training.
The important lesson I learned (as implied in the title of the post), however, wasn't really related to that. It was related to some comments I made on Twitter regarding the training itself - not the content. Our first morning, the facilitator from our county office, very politely informed everyone that we didn't need our technology and that we could put it away. She was really nice about it, but the underlying message really rankled; we weren't to be trusted to have our laptops out and remain focused.
Do you know how I learn and process during PD? I live-tweet throughout sessions. It's how I take my notes. Why? Because it requires me to think carefully about what I'm learning and to distill it down to 140 characters. And also because it allows me to share my learning with others. I can always go back to my twitter feed and find what I wrote about xyz. There's nothing to lose and I get to contribute to the greater understanding of others! But no technology means no tweeting. Being my snarky self, I tweeted something about no technology and the training going #oldschool. They made a very similar comment this morning and again, my snarkiness came through. Should I have made the comments? In hindsight, no. Were they my own personal opinions and response to the directive we were given? Certainly.
Someone, and it honestly doesn't even really matter who, took exception to that and I was respectfully called out on it. A colleague pointed out that because many individuals in my district respect my opinion that I could be, in fact, jeopardizing the success of the program district-wide. Maybe there's truth to that...maybe not. Either way, it's really given me pause to stop and think.
Sure, I could argue my first amendment right to free speech, but that's not the point. And I could argue that that individual completely ignored all of the positive things I said, including the tweet below and yesterday's blog post...but again, that's not the point. So what is the point, then? Whether I like it or not, I represent the district and even though I'm tweeting from a personal account, I should think twice about what I post. I know that sounds really logical like, "Duh, Holly, of course you should watch what you post." But the whole concept of people actually caring what in the world I think is new to me! Honestly, I'm still shocked that people actually listen! And I guess you never know what someone will latch onto. I'd rather they have latched onto all the positive things I said, but that's out of my control. The only person I can control is myself, and I did a pretty poor job of that. Lesson learned.
PS. Ironically, had I been allowed to keep out my laptop, I would have live tweeted all that I had learned at the training and I guarantee you no one would have had a doubt, from my perspective, about the importance of the information.