Are you a noun or a verb? Maybe this isn’t something you think about often, or at all but I was thinking about this after I attended the first ever ISTE Leadership Forum in Indianapolis, IN.
(n) vs. (v)
When I think of a noun I think of it being heavy and by heavy it mean it doesn’t move; it just sits there without really doing anything other than naming itself. In contrast, a verb is busy doing something or being. It is active, charged and poised to do something.
Being a noun or verb depends on how you see yourself as an educator. Are you there in place naming yourself as a teacher? Are you waiting for someone to do something for you or to tell you what you are being? Is it a comfortable place? Are you up and moving about your building talking to other teachers getting new ideas to teach with and having conversations about education? Are you busy on the Internet finding new ideas and reading up on teachers who are blogging? Are you a Connected Educator?
In light of the questions above, I think of myself as a verb. I am always learning something new, reading blogs, posting on Twitter, connected with other educators around the globe, and see myself as never quite reaching the level of teaching I want to attain.
As an educator for fifteen years, half way through a career, I still shake things up. This is important as it causes me to think beyond the next lesson I teach or the next teacher I work with to integrate technology. What I want for myself is to be actionable at all times so that I engage others around me in high quality and deep conversations that bring meaning to me and them causing us to reflect on what we do and where we are going as teachers. It isn’t about just the face to face conversation. The conversation I have as a connected educator brings me new ideas and strategies to use. My thinking and creativity are stretched in new ways and this stretching and creativity moves me in new educational directions.
To be verby means to see yourself as a catalyst in your environment and changing it and yourself. Answering the questions above helps you to gauge if you are verby, but what does it look like. Being verby is to:
- ask questions you don’t know the answers to. Tom Whitby recently wrote a blog post about teachers not knowing what PD they need. Do you know what you need to develop to be a better teacher?
- seek out people who know the answer. I have had a hard time doing this myself, but I have pushed myself to do it because it is better for me. Be willing to ask others who have a better understanding for what you want to learn.
- connect with other educators. Being a Connected Educator is making connections with a wide variety of people and learning from them. As you connect, be selective of people to connect with. Not every educator will have something to offer you, so find and follow those who offer you what you are interested in or looking for to improve you.
- share your thoughts. I remember the days in school when I was asked to write journal entries. Honestly, I loathed it. Today, I see blogging as a journal that reflects me, what I do, and how I am being changed as an educator. Blog and Tweet.
- let others know your opinion. Commenting on other’s blogs and Tweets is a great way to see what you think, and by doing so, you will come to your own verby thoughts that move and change you.
- reflect on your own learning. A best practice for any teacher is to think back about what they have done, or not done, to use it as a platform of personal and professional change.