Why do You Share?
It’s no secret that I have a very high-minded approach about how educators who blog should conduct themselves; blogging is a reflective practice that allows the world small windows into our lives. If we open the curtains a bit, we can encourage others to learn from what we’ve observed, share experiences and resources, and create communities in which discourse and disagreement can live happily (relatively speaking) alongside positive cheer-leading. If we’re inviting the world to peer into our lives, we as educators need to understand, and find ways to appreciate, that we don’t all have the same methods, thoughts, and attitudes when it comes to working in a professional environment. Push back is a good thing; stepping back from back-patting to ask difficult questions (in respectful ways) is a good thing; it brings out the reality that learning (and growing) is an active, messy struggle. It emphasizes the reality that great things can come from people who disagree, but can find meaningful ways to work together. That conversation deserves to be public.
I’ve discovered that my single-mindedness comes at a considerable professional cost in the new media landscape of “InstaTwitterVine.” The questions I ask myself, and the push back that I offer to those in public spheres cause others to question the value of my disagreement, or worse yet, will cause people to blindly ignore the critique, and respond only in a negative light. My goal is not to denigrate, but to better understand why we share with the world, and the value of our thoughts. We all share for different reasons, and how we share matters immensely. To accept the prevailing wisdom that “we share to improve the lives of learners” is poetically pleasing, but can be trite, overused, and hides the unintended consequences and motivations of why we share.
I don’t intend for this to be a post devoted to overwrought navel gazing, so I’ll get right to the point:
I share resources that I’ve created and researched for the staff I support in my school district. I share curiosities and creations that give me pause, and force me to rethink my world view. I share because I know I’m better when I work with others. I share because I often have much more to learn from those who disagree with my thoughts, than I do from those who agree with me.
Why do you share? There are NO wrong answers, and if we disagree about why we should share, that’s a point to celebrate! The art of handling professional disagreement is not something many educators are prepared for, but would be better off being equipped to tackle. The diversity we have as a greater educational community, and the conversation it invites is a strength, not a weakness to avoid. Our discordant thoughts are not a reason to shrink back in the face of opposition, or to discount someone else’s thoughts as trivial. Those ARE the wrong answers, if there are any at all.