Several months ago I unwillingly found myself subscribed to an email thread of daily “wordly wisdom”. Most days, with Inbox Zero habits in mind, these supposedly sage bits of advice end up in my trash folder.
But today’s quote stopped me mid right click.
It struck me as quite relevant in the world of connected educators, educators who pursue learning and collaborating through online communities of practice and social networks. The wealth of individual knowledge and the caliber of educators on Twitter, G+, and other platforms is incredible. It is easy to feel that these folks are perfect. However, it is the joint capacity of the connected educator and the willingness to ask, share, and respond, that produces a culture of connection and impact exponentially greater than the sum of its individual parts.
If our goal is growth, instead of perfection, there becomes a fundamental shift in focus. We stop worrying about arriving and think more about putting one foot in front of the other:
- Tweeting what we really think, even if not everyone will agree. (Keep it classy).
- Sharing resources and tips as part of the collaborative brain-trust of our professional learning networks, even if we don’t think they are worth sharing.
- Reaching out and asking advice when we don’t know what to do next, even if it shatters the perception of perfection.
As educators, I think it is vital to show our students we are still growing, still learning and that we don’t know all the answers. As leaders, I think it is of paramount importance to not pretend like we have it all together and to reach out when we need support and guidance ourselves. As learners, I think we should model the non-linear journey that is learning instead of pretending learning has some pinnacle destination of omniscience.
For the record, I am not very good at most of this. I’d much rather craft my words carefully so as not to offend anyone and keep my ideas in my Evernote folder instead of published to the digital world in case I change my mind someday and look back on my inadequate musings. I’d love to maintain the perception that I know what I am doing all the time, but I see the bigger picture and I’d rather be connected for real. Because connection fosters growth, growth that is much bigger than me and my insecurities.
So let’s be examples of growth, not perfection and give those around us a reason to connect.