Monday, 18 July 2016

Do you encourage or discourage?

I encourage educators to tweet, blog, present, study, publish and step out of their comfort zone and into their learning zone. Some want to share and learn from others. Some may ask for feedback. Let me clarify-questioning and inquiring should be encouraged but making opinionated comments is not constructive feedback. Not all who post on Twitter are looking to be critiqued, judged or challenged. 
And yet... a brief scathing tweet may discourage, dishearten & disengage the educator from social media. The comment may even push them into the panic zone. If you don't agree with their beliefs, opinions or comments, instead of slamming publicly, why not DM and keep it private? You just don't know if that tweet you just slammed was someone taking a risk, which we encourage in our students-take risks!

Do we have the right to publicly criticise on Twitter? Twitter has many benefits and I appreciate this social platform for learning but should all tweets or tweeters be fair game for criticism? With the popularity of social media increasing daily, it is our social responsibility to stop and think before we tweet and comment negatively. Model being a respectful communicator for your students.


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Building Confidence & Humility

Hearing an early career teacher talk about her aspirations of becoming a principal reassured my optimism for the future of education…only then I heard experienced teachers say something along the lines of- ‘can you believe the level of confidence?’ and ‘get through your first five or ten years first’. I have previously encouraged early career teachers to present, only to hear the concern of what others would think. I‘ve blogged about the Tall Poppy syndrome, which is familiar to many Australians.  On the flip-side, I’ve known of early career teachers who believe that after their first year, they’ve ‘got this’. This is concerning as we all know teaching is never mastered but a continual learning process. I wonder if they want to appear confident and competent. And there lies that fine line between confidence and arrogance.

If we invest in our early career teachers through coaching, could we influence their confidence, while modelling humility? Arrogance in education has no place, but confidence on the other hand, is about trying to improve oneself, which is vital for all teachers and learners. It was inspiring to learn about the tall poppy campaign developed by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science. Young Tall Poppy Science Awards aim to recognise the achievements of Australia’s outstanding young scientific researchers and communicators. It is up to us to encourage, guide and inspire all our colleagues and I for one, would love to turn around the concept of the ‘Tall Poppy’ and make it a positive attribute of all teachers. Just imagine what more we could achieve, if we supported and promoted all our teachers, especially the early career teachers who enter this profession intrinsically motivated and enthusiastic.

Thanks for reading,