On March 29, 2016, trying to practice what I was preaching, I wrote a blogpost for the first time. It’s not a particularly scintillating post. But it did serve a purpose. It started me on a writing journey, as a professional challenge, that has paid off many and many times over.
For example, a career path changing event is described on May 12, 2016 after I read Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros, for the first time. In fact, George’s writing had such an impact on me, I wrote about it 4 days later.
I’ve had the change to meet with George several times, including bringing him to our district to keynote a learning session with our entire district staff. Suffice it to say, he nailed it.
It’s interesting to see the top 3 most viewed posts. I would only have guessed one of them. The top one is Midvale School For the Gifted. That dude has been viewed 14,277 times. I’m going to guess it must be found via a Far Side search as much as anything else. Number two on the hit parade is Distracted because of a device? That one weighs in with 5090 views. I would have not guessed the top two at all. I would have guessed that the third one, was going to be the top one. I’m especially proud of this one. Ten tips for new teachers! 1872 views. I’m especially proud because my favorite job in my now 39th year, was when I was a classroom teacher. 16 years with middle school kids. My strongest and most permanent memories of a career are centered during those years. I got married and we had our kids during those years. Just so formative. I’m proud that I will never have a job longer than my 16 years as a classroom teacher. I worked with amazing people during those years. Our middle school had an all star staff and two of my favorite people in the world, Dave Hockman and Kirk Dodge, were integral to any success I’ve had, and we carried each other during tough times.
What have I learned over 200 blogposts? Several things. First, when you think you are done learning, you need to make a change. You should only be done learning when you are ready to be done living. I’ve written about my embarrassing statements regarding knowing everything. I think the best statement came in this the blogpost Ten tips to be a successful principal, from one principal. I added an 11th tip. “I lied about ten. Just thought of a huge one that I can’t neglect, and I don’t want to delete any of the above. Number 11 tip for a successful principal is to continue to grow and learn. A real sign that it’s time to move on is when you think, “I know it all, seen it all, and can’t learn anything else. I’m full.” I speak from painful personal and professional experience.”
Second, the more you learn, the more you need to learn. And more importantly, the more you learn, the more you need to unlearn. So many things I look back on and cringe. Dr. Maya Angelou sets me straight.
Third, we’re in the people business. Big people, little people, medium people. Everything else is second to that, and every role in a district stands in support of the most important role, the teacher. Period.
And finally, by far the most retweeted image and message I have from these 200 blogs is this one:
We can take things very seriously in education and often we absolutely have to do so. However, some of my most special memories come from having fun with my friends and kids at school. Watching kids watch the grownups have fun, and knowing the impact that was having on them…and on the school climate, made it feel like we were playing with house money. We were being paid to have fun, enjoy ourselves, and work with students. Everyone should be so lucky to have that in a job, not to mention a career.
So, number 200 is this one. As Jed Bartlet says all the time in The West Wing, “What’s next?”