Patience, persistence, and a willingness to grow.

Last week, I had a couple of interesting conversations…

The first one was when I was delivering a session on portfolios.  To start off the session, I tell people immediately, “This is not going to be something I show you that you can do the next day with kids. It is hard and will take a lot of work, probably years, but if you can stick with it, it will be insanely rewarding.”

Often I get a look when I say this.  “Is he serious?  This is the opposite of the ‘100 Apps You Can Use Tomorrow’ type sessions.”

Very serious.  Deep learning often takes time and I believe that some apps are great, but NEVER as powerful as our thinking.

The second comment I got was when I was talking about using Twitter to ask questions from educators.  The response I received from a participant was, “Well easy for you to say, you are George Couros.”  I honestly didn’t know if I should take this as an insult or a compliment, but I am pretty sure it was meant in the nicest of ways :)

The thing is, I do have a gigantic network. I know this. I hate using the term “followers” when regarding to Twitter; I always use the term network. I learn from a ton of people and their “follower count” means nothing to me, if they have something to share. That is why I still make a great effort to follow every educator I can on Twitter.

But like every other person who starts on Twitter, I had had a network with the same amount of people that everyone else starts with; zero.  A network takes time, persistence, and effort, to develop.  I try to show the benefits of it and help people when I can, but I also ask them to put in the time.

This work ethic goes beyond developing social networks.

Are you willing to…

Write blog posts that no one reads?

Read and then share articles on Twitter if no one retweets or likes it?

Give credit and place focus on others, even when you don’t feel you are getting enough yourself?

Do some hard work if no one acknowledges it?

Put in time and effort into something and maybe not get the credit you deserve?

Do things on your own without being asked to do them in the first place?

A good friend always talks to me about the willingness to just put in the work when no one is watching. I think about this all of the time, and what it means for educators, and what it means for our students.  The most meaningful things in your life will come with effort. We know this but do we aspire to it?

I love this image created by the very talented Sylvia Duckworth:

This is not only showing what people don’t see, but it is also shows what some people are not willing to see.  Many look for the easy route, but is this what we want to teach our students?

Another friend of mine talked about some of her frustration recently and reached out to me for some advice. What I told her was that, “You feel bad because you care and you want to do awesome things.  Understand that not everything works the way we plan, own it, and then move forward.” Sometimes it is good to cry, be upset, feel like you failed.  It is not about embracing failure; it is understanding that it exists, and then moving on, and moving forward.  One of my favourite movie quotes is from Jerry Maguire, and it is simply two words;

“Breakdown? Breakthrough.”

Patience, persistence, and a willingness to grow.

What if these were traits that all of our students walked out of school with?  The future would be pretty bright.

Source: George Couros