I attended my first #EduCon this past weekend. I observed and participated in many great things: learning from educators who regularly take risks, sharing my experiences with others, and bonding with the 6 staff members who let me accompany them to Philadelphia for the PD. One thing that stood out was consistent with my experiences at #PlayDateDG58 and #EdCampChicago: these educators do stuff. They try new things and take risks. They reflect, revise, learn, grow, and share.
One of the conversations I participated in at EduCon was “Engaging with Networked Thought Leaders: Let’s Write a Book in 90 minutes.” I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve never written a book. I don’t have a background in Language Arts. It all sounded out of my league, out of my comfort zone, intimidating, and…something I wanted to be a part of! Dozens of educators, most strangers to one another, but drawn together by commonalities of being student centered, curious, and willingly to take a risk and do something. And that’s exactly what we did. By the end of the 90 minutes we had created this publication.
Other than being an awesome experience, why does this–and all my experiences with the educators I’ve connected with at EduCon, PlayDateDG58, and EdCampChicago–stand out? Because these are people of action. Too many times we sit in meetings and discuss issue A, get all the complaints out, then are directed to some homework which will be followed up on next time. Then, next time, we’re “too busy” to follow up on and resolve issue A, and delve into issue B. We get all the complaints out for issue B, then are assigned a homework task to be followed up on next time. Like clockwork, next time we are “too busy” to follow up on and resolve issue B, and jump into issue C. This cycle continues, looping when we get to issue Z and realize we have a…new(?)…issue: issue A from weeks/years ago! Then the cycle repeats itself. Lots of talking. Lots of complaining. Tons of frustration. And no action. We don’t actually do anything.
I flew to Philadelphia, sat in a room with dozens of strangers, and in 90 minutes collaboratively published a book around prompts given on the spot! There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to sit in a room in our own districts/schools with colleagues we work with regularly around issues we are already aware of united by a shared vision and collaboratively put something into action promptly. Leaders, please foster these environments of shared leadership, risk taking, and action. As educators, it is a responsibility we owe ourselves, and our kids.