Saturday, December 15, 2012

Getting off the ladder to nowhere

Two great things happened today - the second of these was this evening when I attended TEDxBandra at my school tonight.  There were some great speakers, including Elizabeth Slavitt from Khan Academy who has been at ASB all week as we are one of three schools participating in a NESA (Near East South Asia) Classroom Pilot Program using Khan Academy math resources.  A TEDx video was also shown, the theme of this was finding and doing the work that you love.

I love being an educator - I feel I'm blessed to have found a job that I love, and even though I've worked in some challenging situations at times, the joy that I've found from helping students and teachers to grow has kept me in the profession.  Scott Dinsmore talks about 3 things that are vital for doing the job you love:

  • Become a self expert -  work out what your unique strengths, values and experiences are by reflecting on what went well, what went wrong and why.  It's important to know what success means to us.  He says if you don't know what you are looking for you won't know when you find it.  Over a year ago I went through a time of reflection and at that point I was ready to get off the "ladder to nowhere" as he called it and move to a place that was truly inspiring.  I totally agree - you have to define success in your own terms and then go out and work at it.
  • Push your limits - don't be defined by what you think you can do or what others tell you that you can do.  Last year when I reflected on where I was I came to see that there were so many things that I wanted to do, that I knew would transform learning.  I had to move away from other's limited visions of the power of technology, I had to move to a place where it was OK to prototype new ways of doing things.
  • Spend time with people who inspire you and who believe in you.  Scott said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.  If you are with people who don't believe in you then you don't grow.  80% of people don't like the work they do and being around them encourages complacency - you have to get away from those people and surround yourself with people who inspire you with possibility.  I now understand why even though I've always loved my job it was hard to work somewhere with people who didn't love theirs - who were marking time, getting through the days, waiting until they could leave.  These are the things that create a toxic culture, that drag you down.
So let me share with you the first reason why I was so excited today - I heard that 5 presentations by teachers at our school have been accepted for next summer's ISTE Conference in San Antonio - and let me tell you again how proud I am to be a part of this dynamic school, where I am pushing my limits with people who inspire me and encourage me to be transformative.

Scott's video is below:

Photo Credit: Toucher le ciel... by Sophie & Cie, 2006 AttributionShare Alike

1 comment:

  1. You did well to get off the ladder maggie but the school is a poorer place without you with technology really taking a nose dive this year. Sounds like you are valued in your new school and able to do all the things you wanted to do and that yo know are right. There are a couple of people who must be feeling very foolish now.