What Competitive Person Can Resist a Challenge?

Those who know me understand that one of the things that drives me is that I’m competitive.  Sometimes that trait draws me into wonderful opportunities, and other times it can cause some serious consternation. After accepting A.J. Juliani’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge, I’m about to discover just what kind of adventure my competitive nature has gotten me into.  To seal the deal, I’m putting it in print — my goal and commitment is to write 300 words a day and post at least once a week.  Let the learning begin . . .

There were two thoughts that stayed with me today after an early morning perusal of email and Twitter.  One was Bill Ferriter’s post on New Year’s resolutions, and the second came at the end of Seth Godin’s post “The Candy Diet.”   In Ferriter’s blog, he talked about an important shift – from one in which you learn from people to one in which you learn WITH people.  He went on to talk about the importance of asking questions, making connections, and starting conversations.  I like this phrase — to “spend time wrestling with and responding to those ideas.”  Reflection and conversation are such powerful ways to continue to grow as a professional, and I’m constantly learning from my secondary teammates as well as from masters like Penny Kittle, Cris Tovani, George Couros, Doug Fisher, Suzie Boss, Linda Darling-Hammond, and A.J. Juliani, to name just a few.  I’m grateful to each of them for the questions they pose, the conversations their words ignite, and the insights they offer.  As I write, my goal will be to summarize those ideas and put them in the context of possibility for teachers.  To stay true to Bill Ferriter’s challenge, those ideas now must become an integral part of conversations with colleagues and not merely words in a blog post.

Seth Godin adds another layer to the challenge of thoughtful writing and influencing by asking people to use “precise words, employ thoughtful reasoning and ask difficult questions.”  The outcome of that is to hopefully “lead our way back to curiosity, inquiry, and discovery.”  These are lofty goals, but they’re certainly worth striving for.

To colleagues who are only a cubby away to the people in my PLN, I’m looking forward to future conversations and opportunities to collaborate.  This new year, what difficult questions will we answer together?  And how are you using your words?

Taking Risks

A It’s been over a year since I wrote my “Just Start” post, and, in full        disclosure, only one other post followed.  Writing is a risk for me, but it’s past time to put fears aside and write on a consistent basis — a commitment to one published post a week.  I knew it when I looked at a group of committed teachers and asked them for their action steps — one thing each would do in the following week.  Avoiding it was out of the question because how could I ask them to be bold and try new things if I wasn’t willing to do the same?

Writing is about taking a risk.  It’s putting a voice to your thinking even when you’re afraid it won’t be as good as you want it to be.  It’s about reflection and introspection.  It’s about hard work that can lead to amazing insights and professional growth.  So . . .  I’m writing.

What risk are you willing to take?  What’s one thing that you know you need to try even if it scares you just a bit?

Just Start!

Lead Learner

Sometimes, it’s that blank sheet of paper or computer screen that’s the obstacle.  Other times, it’s the worry about what to say that others would value.  In the end, it’s about just starting.  It’s about reflecting, sharing, and challenging yourself to grow as an educator.  So that’s what Crucial Connections is all about for me.  It’s about sharing what I’ve learned from so many in my professional learning network or PLN.  It’s about connecting with others beyond the walls of a classroom, beyond the walls of your school — it’s those crucial connections with others who share your passion for teaching and learning.  So, to that end, I’m beginning my reflective journey, and it will be public.  It’s what we ask of our students . . . so let’s be brave and write with them.