Power of Sharing

I still haven’t finished my “Introduction” to ETMOOC post, but will do that soon. I just had to get this post out of my head tonight.

This afternoon, I attended Dean Shareski’s Sharing as Accountability session in the #ETMOOC (Educational Technology Massive Online Open Course) today. It was a great session because it just reaffirmed much of what I believe to be so important in our educational system.

Dean talked about the importance of sharing and learning together.  He talked about the importance of sharing in any way you are comfortable.  We are not at the same place (nor should we be) and we are not all going to move at the same speed (nor should we).

It is all about understanding and connecting with people – whether that means people around the world, or people across the hall.  The more we share, the more we learn about one another and how we can support and learn from one another.

For instance, I have learned so many things about the staff at my school through reading  their blogs – things I probably wouldn’t have had time to learn during the busy school day. I have learned about some of their passions – both professional and personal. I have learned about struggles they may be having in their life that help me to understand better. I have learned about professional challenges and successes they are having.  Their blogs give me a window into their personal and professional life which I would not have had otherwise. I have been able to make my own personal connections which may not have happened. For this, I am truly grateful.

Here is a wonderful blog post by a fellow #etMOOC participant that resonated with many, The Power of Visible Learning. This demonstrates my point and belief quite nicely.

This is the same with my fellow school district administrator colleagues. We do not have a lot of opportunities to get together to chat and learn about one another – personally or professionally. We are a very large district with probably over 200 administrators. While some of us have the opportunity to get to know each other better in our smaller “study groups”, it is difficult to truly learn more about one another in a large group setting.  Reading my fellow administrator’s blogs is different.  Their blogs allow me a window which may have otherwise been blocked or closed.  This window, curtain drawn, allows me the opportunity to learn about my colleagues, their families, their schools, their successes, and their challenges.  We are there to support one another and this is a wonderful way to do so!

Dean urged people today to figure out something that works for them. He encouraged people to do SOMETHING – no matter how small they perceive their something to be – SOMETHING is better than NOTHING.  It is our professional responsibility to do SOMETHING!

I try to share a lot – with my friends and my colleagues.  At times, some may feel I share too much (most of the time I feel like I don’t share enough).  As Carolyn Durley (@okmbio), an educator I respect a great deal, tweeted  in the backchannel on Twitter during Dean’s presentation,

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 11.49.49 PM

I will not apologize for sharing either. Those who want to listen can. It’s up to others to filter what they want to. That’s what I have to do on a daily basis when I hold my mouth up to the firehose of learning that is Twitter (and now #etmooc). Those who are able to engage know I am there to support them in whatever way possible (no matter how small or how big). We can learn together.

We need to create that culture of sharing with one another as educators – it is our responsibility to ourselves and to our colleagues.  We should not worry about writing the perfect blogpost or the perfect tweet. Instead, as Dean said today, we should just write and share more. We should find a way to get our ideas, thoughts, and feelings out there for others to read – for others to think about, question, support, and challenge. We should think of our blog posts as “drafts” – unfinished, able to be revised, if needed.

We need to think about the connections we are making with our colleagues – both locally and globally. These connections are what will make us stronger teachers and leaders and move us forward (even if it is small baby steps) in our practise.

Here are a few questions for you to consider.  I would love to continue this conversation in the comments.

How do you share with your colleagues?

How are you contributing to the culture of sharing within your learning community?

What is one thing you can do differently to begin sharing more?

If you’d like to see the archive of Dean’s presentation, you can find it here:

T1S2 – Sharing As Accountability w/ Dean Shareski (Jan 22, 7pm)

If you want to learn more about the ETMOOC, you can find more information here and register here (it’s never too late).

Published by Tia M. Dawson

There are many things that define who I am as a person. First of all, I am a mother of 3 wonderful children! I can not express how fortunate we are to have our children in our life! Secondly, I am an elementary educator who recently returned to the classroom after 12+ years as an elementary school administrator. Lastly, I am passionate about helping others, learning about abuse, helping others in abusive relationships, and helping others understand their worth.

7 thoughts on “Power of Sharing

  1. Hi Tia, Good one you for getting a blog post down 🙂 I am still swirling with ideas 😦

    Buy yes Dean’s call to share more really struck a cord with me. It made me wonder why are so many teachers (at HS this is true) so cautious about sharing? What is it in our culture or collective mind sets that makes it uncomfortable for us to share what we are doing in our rooms? How do I/we at my school work to chip away at that culture? Sharing of what you do seems to be such a simple thing but think you are right when you say sharing “will make us stronger” more resilient to the pressured of the days, weeks and months ahead. How do we shift perception that sharing is a powerful and positive aspect of our job and culture rather than a frivolous one?

    Thanks for the thought provoking post Tia! Thanks for sharing with us 🙂


    1. Hi Carolyn,

      Sharing is a real struggle for so many people. I would hope it doesn’t have to do with competition, but part of me thinks competition plays a role in it. We all just need to be open to learn from one another without feeling inferior. We all have things to share and we all have many things to learn. I am so grateful that I learn something new every single day! I could not learn nearly as much if I didn’t have others to learn from and to help support my learning. It’s that sharing culture that is so very important. It really starts with people modelling sharing, I believe. Slowly, people will feel more comfortable sharing more. It is such a powerful part of our job and the culture, you are right!

      Thanks for reading and responding, Carolyn. I can’t wait to hear about your conference!

  2. Tia, your questions are ones I have been asking myself since I attended Dean Shareski’s session yesterday as well. I have always felt that I was very open to sharing my ideas and learning in the traditional manner, but the truth is that I am hesitant to share online because I feel exposed and I wonder if my ideas are good enough to be shared. My goal during etmooc is to overcome this feeling and begin to blog more freely so that I can be more self-reflective and share more openly and so that I can give and not just receive.. So far, I have been a lurker and I am changing into becoming a novice in the online community. Just beginning to reply to blog posts such as yours is one of my first steps.

    1. Hi Jas,

      Good for you for taking that leap and commenting on blogs! That is a great way to start! People always appreciate when others take the time to read and then comment. Thank you!

      It is difficult when you start blogging because there is this feeling that we don’t want to put anything out there for the “world” to read if it is anything less than perfect. That is not the reality though. Things will not be perfect. We don’t expect perfection from our students (at least, I sure hope we don’t) so why should we expect it from ourselves?

      We are all at different places and we can all learn from one another! I feel very strongly about that.

      Can’t wait to read some more of your posts, Jas!

  3. Thank you for reiterating that it’s not about being perfect, it’s about doing SOMETHING! I think that has become my personal motto this year. I’m still new to the teaching profession; I was telling a colleague just yesterday that I was finally at the point last year, in year 3, where I felt like I kind of “knew what I was doing.” This year, I have thrown it all out the window in favour of experimenting with my students. I don’t think I have done anything this year that has gone extraordinarily well, but I have learned more in the past 9 months than I have ever learned before. Part of my learning has been opening myself to others, sharing experiences (including weaknesses and challenges) and allowing myself to jump into something because it excites me and because it reminds me why I became a teacher, not because other people think it’s a good idea.

    We have regular sharing sessions on staff and I’ve offered to work with other teachers to integrate iPads and Apple TV into their classroom routines. I started a blog this year and am beginning to share more on Twitter rather than just take. However, like you, I don’t ever feel like I’m sharing enough. I also, like Jas, often feel like what I have to share is not good enough. I also don’t always feel like I have the experience to validate my ideas. However, I think it’s this constant state of internal struggle that helps us to reflect on our own learning and it is what will ultimately push us to be better.

    I absolutely agree with Dean that sharing amongst our colleagues is an important responsibility. I will continue to share, reflect, and try to improve, while encouraging others to take baby steps as well. We all need each other!

    1. Good for you for doing all you do with respect to your learning! There is some comfort in doing the same thing over and over, however, that also brings boredom and does not do anything to inspire us as educators. Taking the leap to try new things, is a real challenge, however, people have support, if they want it. It is a challenge to be vulnerable though and it is a difficult feeling for so many people. Once we all realize that we are here for one another – working together and not competing against one another, then we will really move forward.

      It sounds like your staff is doing a lot of wonderful sharing! That’s wonderful! I believe that sharing some of what you all share in those sharing sessions would be beneficial to many around the district and world. Imagine sharing with one another and the impact that results. Now, imagine sharing with one another AND the world (in blogs) – what an incredible impact your staff could have!

      Keep sharing and learning! I’m impressed!

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