Isn’t it funny how sometimes as teachers lessons we have planned ahead of time will end up happening at the prefect time? For example, last week I spent way too much time trying to help my science students understand solstice and equinox, the lesson lasted until Friday. Yesterday was equinox. Didn’t plan the timing, it just happened.
Lesson I taught today in my tech class has been planned for 3 weeks now. Really since January, it was a lesson a group came up with in the conversation led by Gerald Aungst and me at the last educon. And now I sit back and think, wow at that timing.
The lesson was to look back over your social media footprint as someone from the outside and write a negative story about yourself. Last week we spent the entire week discussing what makes someone a cyberbully and how that line gets crossed. We also talked about how kids are so quick to point the cyberbully finger when someone disagrees with us or posts something they don’t like. So it is safe to say we’d have spent weeks having dialogue about online persona and how to judge or not to judge others online.
So today they wrote. They reflected on what they posted online and twisted it into something else, something negative, hateful, etc. They made comments about how easy it was. Tomorrow we are going to look over these stories and see how we should give each other a break instead of looking for something to jump on as well as be careful of what we say or what pictures we post.
Today and this weekend I’ve watched this lesson bloom into reality on so many levels. On a personal level as well as a professional. And what it comes down to is this:
1. Why the heck do we not give a rats about who we hurt when when twist things?
2. Why have we become a society that does not value others’ opinions and honesty?
3. Why do we not listen, we see/hear/read but we don’t actually take the next step and listen then do.
Totally not getting into the personal, but the professional side of this is eating me up. Last weekend was the Bammy Awards. I was not an honoree but I went as a connected educator. I loved going to Bammy’s last year because it was a chance to hangout with my PLN without the stress and exhaustion of conferences. Hey, I like to party. I also like to celebrate those who put their whole lives into this profession. So that’s why I went. Not because it’s a clique (that one hurt some bc never once have I ever left someone out at an event or online purposely, I have same fears as everyone else about going to events like this and being alone or left out) even though I enjoyed seeing friends and meeting others f2f for first time. I didn’t go because I want a pat on the back, I’m not online for recognition. No matter what anyone says, I’m not. I often wonder why the heck people read my oddities. I even have crazy guilt because I had to tell my daughter no she couldn’t have something she wanted because I spent what extra money I had this month on this trip (no worries teachers make millions). I went because our profession gets beat down too much. This was an event that was supposed to be the opposite. This was a time I don’t get the eyebrow lift and “Ohhh you’re a teacher…” comment. No this is a time to celebrate. Heck I almost quit this summer but didn’t and I’m having the best year I’ve had in years. Let’s celebrate!
The event wasn’t as ‘celebratory’ of education as I hoped. Teacher awards were not recognized, as someone in a classroom every day, that stung. Heck I’ll be straight honest with you, it more than stung. The reason I went was the celebration of education because it’s a profession so often looked down upon. But without teachers, there is no education. They are the front lines. There was more (the look on the kids faces while comedian says she wishes kids still got chicken pox stung as well) but that is not the purpose of this post. One of the teachers I got the pleasure to meet this weekend did a great job writing an honest reflection about her experience. It’s what happened next that made today’s lesson hit home.
You see Pernille was just being honest. She was giving her opinion and being open and real. That can be tough, especially when it is negative. She was giving her opinion. (This is number 2 above.) Yet her opinion was looked down upon and belittled or even worse used to attack the entire event (number 1). Twitter and facebook was just a buzzing. But her words were twisted (number 1) as well as the response from the Bammy’s, which belittled her opinion (number 2 BTW her post was compared to online opinions of Miley at the MTV awards – number 1). When others voiced opinion they were called cyberbullies – which if you were in my class and went through the checklist it did not classify.
As the convos on blog and twitter heated up people stopped listening and valuing others opinions (number 3). No one stopped and asked “what can do to not make people feel this way?” or “how can make this better?” on either side of the aisle. Or side of the theater. What ever. No it became a “right” vs “wrong” and we missed this huge chance to start dialogue. We missed this completely. People start arguing about cliques and asking “why didn’t __ teacher who isn’t online get nominated?” (um probably because your butt didn’t nominate him/her). Screw dialogue, right? Let’s twist things, let’s complain, let’s argue, but God forbid we work together to find a solution.
So tomorrow I’m heading back into my classroom and we are going to discuss whether or not what they posted online really was something inappropriate or was it just easily twisted. Then we are going to try to figure out the purpose of twisting things. We are going to weigh the hurtful words vs jealousy vs uninformed vs actually being wrong in doing something. I have this small hope left that my kids will learn something from this and we can see a success in this.
By the way, there were positives this weekend, I got to spend a weekend with some of the most awesome people I know, that is totally worth it. I got to see lovely friends receive much deserved awards. Let’s focus on that, let’s ‘fix what’s broke’, and let’s watch how we respond to others.