WWTSD? aka What Would Taylor Swift Do?

WWTSD? aka What Would Taylor Swift Do?

Yep. I’m going there.

Oh Taylor, you had no idea you would take the education world by storm in addition to topping the charts, did you? Okay, “taking by storm” might be a bit much, but I am going to proudly announce right now that I belong to a Voxer Group currently titled “WWTSD?”

You see it coming, I know you do, but as our group got to talking about negative culture and how to keep pushing through the politics and “it’s almost winter break” craziness and cold weather blues, we all agreed that there’s really only one answer that makes sense.

You shake it off.

In case you have been living under a rock, please take a minute to familiarize yourself with the vocal stylings of Miss Taylor Swift. Now, let’s dig in.

I go on too many dates [chuckle]

But I can’t make them stay

At least that’s what people say, mmm-mmm

That’s what people say, mmm-mmm

Here, we’re going to use dates to refer to new ideas and new initiatives. When you are a connected educator or a truly life-long learner, you are constantly working to find new ways to engage your students in deep, meaningful, relevant learning. Other people may tell you to “pick one idea and stick with it” (yes, I’ve been told this before), but no single idea is ever going to be the best fit for all kids. No, you can’t be an expert in all things, but guess what? You don’t have to be the expert. Keep exposing your kids to new opportunities and new ideas. You can do it! We can’t keep learning and becoming better at our craft if we don’t keep pushing.

But I keep cruising

Can’t stop, won’t stop moving

It’s like I got this music

In my mind

Saying, “It’s gonna be alright.”

For me, this is about pushing through the negativity that others can sometimes project onto you and doing it anyway because you know what is best for your students in your environment. My friend, Dane Barner, says for him, this part really represents the idea that there can sometimes be a feeling of “I don’t know what I’m doing” but that’s part of the process, not a deterrent. I’ll even go so far as to pull in a little Miley Cyrus while we’re at it, and add that “we can’t stop… we won’t stop…” – we really can’t.

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play

And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate

Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake

I shake it off, I shake it off

Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break

And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake

Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake

I shake it off, I shake it off

I feel like this stands for itself, but Dane had some good thoughts about it. He said there are always going to be “players” who flip flop on growth or innovation (and we all learned from the 2004 presidential election that flip-flopping is bad), or who will go back to past practice when the going gets tough. And I know there will be those who will fake it – who will talk the talk, and never walk the walk, but friends? We’ve gotta shake it off. Do what’s best for kids. Keep it positive.

I never miss a beat

I’m lightning on my feet

And that’s what they don’t see, mmm-mmm

That’s what they don’t see, mmm-mmm

Not missing a beat isn’t about being an expert, it comes from all the hours we put in learning, collaborating, discussing, building, and tweeting. Those are the parts that people don’t see. Dane adds, “that’s where I think having an active PLN is so powerful, but not so obvious. I hear this when people say to me or one of my local PLNers, ‘I don’t know how you do all of that in a day.’ Of course they are referencing the contract day. Learning happens when we wake and stops only when we sleep. That is, unless you have teaching dreams.”

I’m dancing on my own (dancing on my own)

I make the moves up as I go (moves up as I go)

And that’s what they don’t know, mmm-mmm

That’s what they don’t know, mmm-mmm

Sometimes it does feel like you’re on your own. Like this guy. But you’ll notice that even shirtless, dancing guy gets followers. But making the moves up as you go? That’s creativity. That’s innovation. Dane added that it speaks to failure – allowing failure to provide direction rather than stop action.

Hey, hey, hey

Just think while you’ve been getting down and out about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world,

You could’ve been getting down to this sick beat.

This is our call to action. You can either get bogged down in negativity, try and fly under the radar, let others dictate what your classroom looks like, OR you can choose to march to your own beat, dance your own dance, do what you know is best for kids, and, you know, SHAKE IT OFF!