Is Anyone Reading?

I had an interesting Twitter conversation yesterday. 

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that my blog post on Fridays features some of the really good blog reading that I’ve done the past while from Ontario Edubloggers.

I do a lot of reading but what really impresses me are the thoughts from folks in Ontario who talk about education in the context of the Ontario Curriculum.  In their way, they are leading the charge to innovation and great thinking about what’s best for schools and students.  It’s a way of sharing the learning in ways that were just not possible years ago.

Years ago, you might go to one board PD Day a year or twice a year if you were lucky.  You got filled up with knowledge and ideas for one day and then it was back to the regular routine.  Quite frankly, any change is incremental and there certainly wasn’t an opportunity to celebrate success or reach out to colleagues for a continual dialogue after the fact.  All that has changed now for these leaders who are very transparent in their learnings and their thoughts.  They’re sharing regularly.

And yet, the question was thrown back to me – I’ll bet my superintendent has no idea what I’m doing.

That’s a really sad question.

I know that everyone has lots to do but, in a position of leadership, is there nothing more important that listening to those who are actually carrying out the work in the classroom?

I had a coffee recently with another friend who was talking about a supposed leader in social media who is held up as an example.  The comment was made that it’s good that Christmas is a recurring event.  The Principal’s Christmas message from last year was still up on the school website and in a few weeks it would be timely again.

Compare that to the classroom teacher who is constantly learning, growing, sharing, promoting the cause.

The call to action from this post?  If you’re a principal or superintendent, you absolutely need to find some way to gather the blog and social media content from your jurisdiction and read what’s happening.  Set up an RSS feed, a Livebinder, a Scoopit page,  a Flipboard page, …  There are leaders in your charge.  Celebrate with them and promote the cause for continuous learning and sharing. You might want to even go out on a limb and leave a comment or engage in a conversation.

You want to demonstrate and talk about 21st Century skills?  They’re probably being very well demonstrated just a few steps away.

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11 Replies to “Is Anyone Reading?”

  1. Maybe I’m the lucky one, but I think I’m in a Board when people are noticing what’s being shared. Everyone from my principal (past and present), vice principal (past and present), superintendent, and even Director have commented on, shared, and/or talked to me in person about my blog posts and tweets. I think this happens for others in our Board as well, but I also think that we need to share this content with them. If we want them to read it, tweet it to them or email them a link. Yes, they are incredibly busy, but I know that they care about what we’re doing. Now my question would be, how are we ensuring that they see what we’re doing and how are we encouraging them to join in on the discussion? Maybe the onus doesn’t just need to be on them …

    Aviva

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  2. Something else that I think is worth mentioning is that we have admin, a superintendent, and even a past Director in our Board that blogs. Are teachers reading these posts, and how are they engaging in discussion on them? There are many voices in education, and I think that we need to hear all of them, and listen to, reflect on, and engage in discussions with everyone together. I wonder how often this happens, and I wonder how we can help it happen more. Maybe it’s a case of trying to get these varied voices at EdCamps, and then sharing these blogs there that can help continue the conversations once EdCamps are over. Thanks Doug for giving me so much to think about!

    Aviva

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  3. Thank you for your comments, Aviva. It’s funny; there are so many big name bloggers that talk about the big picture and get all the recognition from the online community. And yet, at times, their context is so far removed or distant from the local reality. I would argue that the local teacher who is trying something with her/his class and sharing it online or asking for assistance is the voice that needs to be celebrate at least as much, probably even more. And yet, it often goes missing. Some of the best, authentic blog posts may well come from them.

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  4. Thoughtful post, Doug. I don’t disagree with your call to action. I have been musing about it and offer the following thoughts in return, As a former SO and relative newbie to connecting through social media, I find myself thinking about the difference between real peer connection where we exchange ideas, information and you influence my thinking and actions and connecting digitally where the interaction often seems to have limited feedback. I am discovering that there certainly is an art to communicating digitally …..the absence of it is noticed if you are a leader as well as how often messaging is refreshed. Sometimes the messaging appears contrived, other times it feels profound. The old adage still seems to ring true…perception is all there is. The thread of communication in connection is most important to me because it underpins co-learning.
    Happy holidays and thanks for the opportunity to reflect.
    Beate

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  5. Nice reflection, Beate. I think the danger is in assuming that you’re always right. However, if it opens a discussion, then I see a real advantage. Plus, as an SO, it could be used as a way to ensure that the messages are making their way appropriately into the classroom.

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  6. When I read your “Early Morning Readers” post about Follow Friday sharing/connecting, I had mused to myself: What if every school board/district had a social media manager or some kind of hired position to ensure that kind of consistent local sharing, curating, and connecting similar to what you do for the Ont. education bloggers? Could that be seen as something worthwhile to fund and support and/or could education and local districts embrace it and benefit from it? Can education organizations “work” like that? More than just sharing the “good” stories, but also the reflective thinking and struggling… for growth.

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  7. I like that idea, Sheila. I think most districts have a person who has a portfolio of public relations – perhaps this is a natural extension of that?

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  8. I doubt anyone in my school’s administration reads my blog. I think some of the teachers read blogs in their area but that is different from an administrator reading about what their own teachers are doing. Recently I did a guest post and the people behind that blog sent my principal an email letting him know about it and that I was appreciated. I appreciated that effort. And my principal did link to it and talk about it in his blog. I think that sharing what teachers are sharing online is something administrators should be doing. Or someone should be doing on their behalf.

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  9. I guess it could come under PR, but it would need to take on a new focus and intent as well… I am not sure if “PR” alone has the goal of community and/or staff engagement, in the true sense of the word.

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