Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Road Less Traveled

Educon was an amazing experience for me both professionally and personally.  It provided me with an opportunity to put a face and voice to so many educators from across that country and Canada that have inspired, motivated, supported, and challenged me ever since I discovered this vibrant, connected community of learners in March of 2009.  As I have written numerous times, I have grown and learned more in this short period of time than from any other professional development opportunity.  I would not be the leader and learner I am today if it weren’t for the passionate educators that unknowingly push me to become better each day.

Being surrounded by a group of innovative educators that have broken down the walls of their institutions, challenged traditional methodologies, taken risks to benefit all learners, and readily share their knowledge and experiences provides the fuel for my intrinsic motivation to make a positive impact at my school.  As I reflect on my weekend here in Philadelphia the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost resonates loudly with me and characterizes the attendees at Educon:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair 

And having perhaps the better claim, 

Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 

Though as for that, the passing there 

Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay 

In leaves no step had trodden black 

Oh, I kept the first for another day! 

Yet knowing how way leads on to way, 

I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh 

Somewhere ages and ages hence: 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I 

I took the one less traveled by, 

And that has made all the difference. 
To me, Educon is about the educators from all corners of the globe who refuse to abide by the status quo.  These many trailblazers in our prestigious profession decided to take the road less traveled by pushing the boundaries of an educational system that is inadequate for learners today.  To me, educators like this are heroes as they have pursued a path fraught with many obstacles such as lake of support, emphasis on standardized tests, micromanagement, isolation, and lack of resources.  These have been overcome through an unwavering commitment and passion for engaging students no matter what the costs in order to place them on a path to success.  

Frost ends his poem with this line, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I 

I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” I feel extremely fortunate that I decided to take the path less traveled with not only those educators that attended Educon, but the collective group across the world that exhibit an unwavering dedication for making a positive impact on the life of a child.  

In the words of Peter Senge, "You cannot force commitment, what you can do...You nudge a little here, inspire a little there, and provide a role model.  Your primary influence is the environment you create."  To me, this is what Educon is all about.  How would you categorize your experience at Educon and/or your journey down the path less taken?  What can be done to encourage other educators to go down this path with us?

Please feel free to check out and add to the Google Doc: A Collective Roadmap to Change from the Educon session I facilitated.


  1. Enjoyed this Eric! What a wonderful selection you chose to put your thoughts into poetry!:) I am asking that same question you posed at the end..,"What can be done to encourage other educators to go down this path with us?". Hmmm. let me know when you find any solutions/answers:) Thanks for sharing!!

  2. What can be done? Pass it on...Pass on the inspiration. I am passing your post on to my principal. EduCon is inspiring, uplifting, & motivating. It feeds my soul with hope and possibility. Keep the embers of EduCon burning through your continued connections, your continued questioning, your continued passion and belief that the road less taken will make all the difference!

  3. I will follow my heart and do what I know is right. I will try not to focus on the obstacles, but forge my way around them. I will lead by example. I will put students first, always. I will stop once in a while and give myself a pat on the back, even when no one else does.
    I am honored to have had the opportunity to participate in the conversation, that was Educon!

  4. What a great reflection! I am looking to hopefully attend the conference next year. In my current position as hs principal, I am really trying to model my expectations for 21st century pedagogical practices. Look forward to continuing my growth!

  5. I am leaving education for the reasons you state above. Here's my blog:

  6. Thanks for Sharing this Eric.

    Senge's quote is speaks volumes. Thanks for sharing.

    I wish I had been able to attend Educon but instead will rely on the sharing and reflections of others like yourself.

    Thanks again!

    John Evans

  7. Great tie to the poem, Eric! As an English teacher, I definitely appreciate it.... and as a fellow trailblazer I feel the same way! I love going to these conferences, meeting new people that are in the same boat as me, and getting reenergized with fresh ideas and fresh attitudes to motivate me to keep going!

    Love the post!

  8. Eric,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and choosing great poetry and quotes to illustrate your point. I was able to duck in for a bit on your session and you are true pioneer in administrative thinkings. It is so important that we as educators seek each other out in any way possible to share successes and failures and learn collectively from each other. I enjoyed reading over some of the comments on your google doc and I think it is reassuring to see so much great work going on.

    Keep up the progessive work and sharing it with the rest of us!


  9. Eric,

    Thanks for the post! I love the use of the poem and how you were able to relate it to forward thinking educators! I often come home from conferences like Educon and I am energized, excited, and ready to spread the word :) Unfortunately it seems that each time I return to a world where my colleagues refuse to change, listen, or even challenge themselves to become better. This post really was a "spirit lifter" for lack of better terms and I am glad you posted it. I am happy to be on this "road" with you and many other educators and I look forward to learning with even more along the way!