I’m not THERE yet

I’m not THERE yet

I might be writing this about you. But I’m not writing it about you. That doesn’t mean it’s not about you, though.

I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to teachers, and there are a few things that I hear over and over. There is truly a possibility that you and I, whoever you are, have had a conversation along the same lines I’m about to describe. That’s okay – because I have yet to have this conversation with someone who I didn’t think was “there”. Each time I have this conversation it is with an educator that inspires me and I am so completely in awe of. So listen up. I might be talking about.

I get the opportunity to see a lot of classrooms and a lot of teachers and my first thought is usually “we need to share this!” I get to see a lot of awesome work, and I want the rest of PLAEA (and the world) to know about it! Let’s put it on the blog, take some photos, shoot some video, tweet it out – whatever it takes. Do you want to share your work at __________ tech conference? Can I come observe your class and check out what’s going on? And all too often, the response I get is:

I’m not there yet.

I’m not there yet.

  • Repeat after me. “I am doing awesome work!” Say it again. So many educators that I come across think that because they are just starting or still learning that their work isn’t ready to be shared, or isn’t worth sharing. This is especially true when it comes to using technology in the classroom. You are doing awesome work! It might not be perfect, but if you’re human like the rest of us, it never will be 100% perfect, and sharing gives others a chance to learn from your mistakes, build off of what you’ve started, and use your inspiration to try something in their own classroom. And not only are you doing awesome work, but we want to hear about it! You aren’t bragging, you’re celebrating your students. Don’t they deserve to have their work celebrated? So do you!

I’m not there yet.

  •  Where exactly is “there”? The answer to this is probably different for everyone, but still I wonder – where exactly is it you are trying to be? Isn’t the learning the best part of the journey? Is “there” the point at which we know it all?Or maybe where we’re ahead of other people? We try and we fail, and THAT’S OKAY! We learn so much more from our mistakes than from our successes. I don’t care if you’re there, I want to know how you got there. Don’t send me a postcard, show me your map. Your math teacher taught you to show your work so that s/he could see where there was a mistake. Math teachers don’t just do that to make your homework last longer, they do it so they can see where you forgot to move the decimal. They do it so they can identify where you might need some support. Showing and sharing your work along the way can still give you that same feedback and support.
    • Math teachers, did you see what I did there? You’re welcome. Thanks Mr. Bosch!

I’m not there yet.

  • I sure hope that if you don’t want to share your work because you’re “not there yet” that you are understanding the irony of it, as well. Have you ever had a student who wasn’t there yet? I’ll say it up front, I’m guilty of saying the words “It’s due today, turn in what you have, at least you’ll get partial credit”. That kid wasn’t there yet either. What might have happened if I’d let him “get there”? We could debate this one all day, but I wanted to give you something to think about.

I’m not there yet.

Good. I don’t want you to be there. I want you to be there (yep, confusing – try picturing me pointing in opposite directions, it might help). I want you to be where you are. You are doing awesome work and it deserves to be celebrated. You are a hardworking, educated individual, and your work has value. People deserve the opportunity to learn from your journey. Students deserve the opportunity to see you model what you’re asking of them. You’re there. Right where you are. Celebrate.