“If you screw up…”

I heard a story about an administrator saying that he now had the ability to deal with teachers that were sharing “inappropriate tweets”.

And we wonder why so many teachers are terrified to use social media or try something new.

So many people share the messages, “If you screw up, we will…”, and then wonder why their organization doesn’t embrace change?

Change comes at a risk, and with that risk, comes the opportunity to screw up.  It is not “if”, it is “when”.  New paths lead to mistakes; it is part of the process.

How do you deal with it?  Better yet, how do you encourage it?

I still believe that many administrators continuously blame teachers and say they don’t embrace change, but I continue to see that many “leaders” are just simply terrible at selling change in the first place.

Easy to blame, hard to do the work.

It’s not me, it’s you.


Oh and by the way, if you are an administrator and this is your mantra and behaviour with teachers, what do you think the trickle-down effect will be with students?

Nothing amazing will ever happen when you continuously build a culture of fear.


  1. Mark Luque said:

    Great post George! You are absolutely correct in your statement regarding leaders who say they want risk takers then drop the hammer on teachers when failure occurs. There is no place for this type of mentality in our work. As leaders, we must take the risk of attempting new “things” moving outside the box of complacency, and encourage/embrace the same mentality for our teams. There is so much work that needs to be done here, but we as leaders have to look in the mirror and realize that it begins and ends with us. The limits of our organization begin and end with our willingness and ability to break the mold and chart a new course.

    May 29, 2014
  2. Concerned said:

    The risks are great for teachers who use their voice, and advocate for vision. Many systems are not set up for voice and vision. Hence what seems like a right (using your voice) ends up becoming quite the opposite.

    May 29, 2014
  3. Hi George — this is a very interesting dilemma, so thank you for starting a discussion. For me, I came into this new job with a social media presence firmly established. They knew this — it was not a negotiable. Only 1 time did an admin ever call me on a tweet — and it was done in a DM and it was gracious and kind…and correct. I was reminded that I didn’t need to share everything on twitter. I had – if you read between the lines — said something that would have been taken incorrectly — and I had not seen that. It was not that I had “SCREWED UP” — it was a “Jen, let’s quietly talk about how this might have looked”.

    I do not believe that is in incorrect for administration to provide some helpful guidelines to their staff in regards to the social media presence (IF they are logging in or twittering as a staff member/teacher/principal.) This is a reflection on their campus — and everyone should be working hard to make that the best campus for everyone to see.

    The fine line then exists between whether you are twittering/fbing/etc — personally or as a professional. And hopefully, as a professional – you would use wisdom and decorum and never need to be threatened with “IF YOU SCREW UP……”

    I want my admin to follow me on twitter, to visit my blog, and to follow my projects — but not so that it provides me with a “walking on egg shells” mentality. I want my admin to follow me on twitter, to visit my blog, and to follow my projects because they know they hired a quality educator who is excited about sharing what is happening on our campus and is making a difference online.


    May 29, 2014
  4. Jennifer Wagner said:

    I realized I had edited what I had meant between professional or personal.

    I believe — (this is my belief only)
    That if you use a school email to log and post — you are acting as a school employee.
    That is you use a personal email to log and post — you are acting personally.

    Hopefully, the two of those do not differ between who you truly are.

    SO — if you are posting with a school email — I do not believe that you should be scared in case you “Screw Up” but I do believe that the school should be providing guidelines regarding social media. Not fear tactics but quality ideas on procedures.

    NOT restrictions — but guidelines.

    That is just my personal feeling.


    May 29, 2014

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