“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” I hate that “riddle.” It is stupid. Maybe I don’t get it. BUT it relates to this so bare with me. I think the reason I think it is stupid is because if no one is around, then no cares if the tree falls and more than likely the tree will not effect anyone.
So I’m going to change the saying to this, “If you have a passion for something, and you do not share that passion, does it make a sound?” or “If you have ideas and the power to change things, and you not share this, does it make a sound?”
For a few days this week I traveled to Georgia to the Promethean headquarters, to discuss their presence in the social media space along with 5 other educators. (promise this is not an ad, its why we should share our passions, don’t leave yet!) Up until recently I have a view of Promethean that was not negative, nor was it positive. I really did not have much of an opinion of the company. I knew who they were, I have a board in my classroom, and recently met Adelma who tweets for @PrometheanUSA. I have to admit this, I just thought they were a company like all others, out to make money. Then this week happened.
With in an hour of being in the building I knew the place was different. Most people I had met were former teachers. The place was playful (they were dressed up for spirit week to raise money for an awesome cause), it was open, heck they even had a wii set up in a hallway. It was like a mini-Google head quarters. Every conversation kept going back to education, not product. Even more shocking, some of the people were listening to what we had to say (in my mind I’m a lowly teacher, why would they do that?). By the end of the first day, it was obvious to me that this place really cared about teachers, students, and education in general. By end of dinner, I was convinced that place was not like had assumed in the past. They were more than orange shirts trying to make a buck.
That passion became more obvious the second day. The CEO of the company, Mark Elliot, came in for “5 minutes” to hear reasoning behind why we thought Promethean needed a better social media presence. After an hour it was obvious this guy really wanted to see change in education, was supportive of teachers, and had amazing ideas of how to do this. Unless you were watching the tweets from the panel or worked for the company you had NO idea of this. Before long Mr. Elliott had the senior level staff in there listening. Telling him why it was now time to change. Time to make their voice heard.I am convinced changes are about to happen and you will be hearing about this passion soon.
So I am going back to my question earlier. “If you have a passion for something, and you do not share that passion, does it make a sound?” I am going to tell you exactly what I told them, you must share this passion. You MUST not keep it to yourselves. That is insane. How are people supposed to hear your ideas? How is your passion going to spread to others? DO NOT KEEP IT BOTTLED UP! No one knows how brilliant you are if you keep it in the four walls of your classroom. Just telling others your ideas and showing them you are passionate about it can make it spread. Blog. Tweet. Write. Speak. What ever is your medium, do it. Once your passion starts spreading, add more mediums to use to share. Please do not discount it. Please. I want to know. I want to learn. I cannot do that unless you share.
Funny you should mention this. I spent the last two days in meetings with principals from around our county. I started yapping about social media and it became painfully obvious that no one in the room has experienced networking in that way, so on Day 2 the facilitators gave me 15 min. (turned into 30, ’cause once I start, I just dont stop 🙂 and what I appreciated was that even though I don’t think they were all on board and ready to jump in, they were very attentive and curious. Probably due to the crazy look in my eyes I get when I talk about this stuff, but also because I showed them the real benefits of its use. Afterwards a few people approached me about talking to their staff and connecting our classrooms with blogging and Skype. Very cool. Goes to show you what a little passion + the willingness to share can do!!
Right on Amanda. It is our obligation to share what we’re good at. I know I’ve been poked fun at for tweeting too many ideas and resources. Really? You’re giving me a hard time because I like to share what I’m passionate about? I know there’s a few others that hear the same stuff, but we have to keep on. I don’t care if someone retweets what I share, that’s not the point. I want others teachers to know that they’re not alone in what can feel like a daunting task to accomplish. That if they need help there is a network of great teachers at their disposal. Teachers don’t have to feel like they’re on an island anymore.
I’ve been feeling worn out and beaten down in my district because it doesn’t seem like anybody wants to hear anything that is progressive or forward-thinking. In fact, I’ve been thinking about just “shutting up now” because I’ve been turned away so many times. I probably needed to read this right now based on how I’ve been feeling. I know pushing the envelope of change is important. Thanks for the boost! 🙂
I really enjoyed this post. I agree with you on the importance of sharing…and continuing to share when it is challenging. Mentioning twitter to a coworker is challenging because of all of the misconceptions. But not mentioning its value is worse.
Thanks for the reminder this Friday!
Bravo! I agree wholeheartedly. And how wonderful that businesses like that are listening to passionate and committed teachers.
I’m passionate about how my principal and assistant principal are so supportive of all the technology I integrate into the classroom. They’re very open to it, and always encourage me to keep using it and being the expert on campus. I can relate to Chris’s frustration with his own district’s lack of vision because I used to feel that way, too. But, just wait it out. Over the last few years, I’ve waited, and now, we have new people in charge downtown, and they’re really trying to take our district into the future.
Pray for a “changing of the guard” or be the catalyst in your own school. One thing is for sure: the future will come, and the question isn’t if, it’s when. Until then, just work on being the “guy” (or gal) who knew it all along. Be that “go-to” individual so when big decisions eventually come down, you’ll be the one they need to talk to. Always ask: 1) Is it good for kids? and 2) Does it support teachers? Just because it beeps or looks shiny, doesn’t make it a win for education.
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Love this post Amanda. We have to share and spread out passions. If we don’t, we risk continuing on with the status quo. It is up to each of us to spread that passion and watch the ripples of change that come as a result. Thank you for sharing your passion!
“No one knows how brilliant you are if you keep it in the four walls of your classroom… Please do not discount it. Please. I want to know. I want to learn. I cannot do that unless you share.”
I love how you put that. Sharing your passion has the power to make a difference in the lives of others… so you are absolutely correct about not discounting it, because people are in need of that type of knowledge, whatever it may be. I’m in the health and fitness industry and just started writing blogs and doing what I can to connect with people more so that they too can achieve good health and wellness. I’ve seen the effects of sharing my passion with others and it is absolutely rewarding.
Keep up the great work! =)
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