Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Let Your Work Do The Talking

Let me start off by saying that this post has been brewing for a while based on what I have observed with nothing being directed at me personally.  Maybe it is just the way I feel, but I am thinking that this is not the case.  

It seems like adults at times are the worse examples for our youth.  Take sports for example.   I was raised to enjoy many sports for the love of the game, teamwork, and competing amongst friends.  Things sure have changed.  It is now quite common to observe trash talk among youth and sport athletes.  This was rarely the case back in my day.  There is a lesson here to teach kids about the inappropriateness of this, but it becomes even tougher when adults constantly model inappropriate behavior.  At what point did sportsmanship, manners, etiquette and modeling appropriate behavior not become important?

This type of behavior is also found in the online world.  I entered the online world in 2009 and can honestly say a great deal has changed.  It sort of parallels the example above in the youth athletics arena.   From my point of view (and only mine), it was a much more welcoming space where mutual respect was earned through constructive discourse, dialogue, and collaboration. In many cases it now seems to be dominated by competition, cliques, and people trying to one up each other all the time.  I have seen the conversational tone lessen and more attacks, jabs, and isolation of certain groups evolve over time.  Belittlement has become the flavor of the month for one too many. 

I still believe in the power of the space and constantly find inspiration in the work of others. Yes, the pettiness of some has driven me to write this post, but I do believe that as role models and educators we need to set the example of what we expect to see from our youth in online spaces.  To that end I offer this simple bit of advice -Actions speak louder than words and in the long run are more respected. Instead of putting other people down let your work do the talking.  There is no greater influential force than that of modeling.  As they say, talk is cheap.  There is nothing cheaper than taking shots from behind a computer screen at other educators whose success has come as a result of hard work.
Image credit: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/bgleason/pt/walk%20the%20talk.jpg

I never saw myself being in the position I am today, nor did many other connected educators for that matter. I tend to stay above the fray even when I see veiled cheap shots and passive aggressive behavior directed at those who are doing nothing more than their jobs.  My parents taught me to work hard in life and appreciate those who work just as hard and harder than me.  So when terms like rockstar and thought-leader are thrown my way I feel uncomfortable. My perceived success and influence is only a result of the many connected educators who set the bar so high.  Their unselfish work geared towards kids that is exemplified through sharing, conversation, and artifacts is what sets them apart from others.  To put people like this down perplexes me deeply.

In life success is earned, not given out.  Personally I have worked extremely hard for everything I have accomplished professionally. At this point I never ask to be included in events or conversations, as I would hope that my work places me in this position. When I and others are included it is because of our work. It baffles me as to why other educators blatantly knock down and berate their colleagues.  After all, we are all in the business of education in our respective roles.  

Talk, opinions, rhetoric rarely change anything.  When I see other educators succeed it brings me great pride no matter who they are. I tend not to judge, but constantly watch other educators do just that through social media.  Let’s be the example that we wish to see in others, especially our kids.

6 comments:

  1. Well said! Thanks for sharing. I love reading your blog. I have never understood why when others succeed in life other people are jealous and knock them down. We should all want the best for each other and be the example for our students. Thanks Eric.
    Stephanie from Principal Principles

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    1. Thanks Stephanie! It is important the people are reminded that our actions on and offline influence others in both negative and positive ways.

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  2. Absolutely true. If we want to foster the sense of community and love within our classrooms with our students...the adults should be the first people modeling the expectation. Excellent post! Thank you for spreading the good word!

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  3. I couldn't agree more, thanks for this Eric. The Internet, as with all technology, is neutral, and it is up to us to use it in a positive way rather than be drawn into pointless negative attacks on others who happen to have different opinions. Having the kind of positive role models you describe is essential for any educators wishing to have a discussion around digital citizenship.

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  4. Great reminder! I believe that excellent leaders and educators empower others, and a healthy competition can help refine and improve each other's abilities. I've observed the negative behavior you've described myself and others have shared, so I'm curious: What do you think is the source of the belittling, berating, jabbing, etc?

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    1. Thanks for reading Emma. In response to you question I would say jealousy first and foremost.

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