Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Art of Storytelling

I decided to hold back (for now) on a rant that has been brewing for the past two days and instead have decided to take a more constructive approach on my blog.  A great debate that has emerged over social media channels has been how we honor and acknowledge our educators and others in the profession. During many insightful and constructive conversations with Chris Wejr we went back on forth on the merits and challenges inherent in this complex process. Even though Chris and I respectfully disagree on awards in general we had an enlightening conversation over the course of 3 days in public and private on the importance of sharing stories. The consensus is that regardless of the process more stories need to be told. 

Image credit: http://prtini.com/storytelling/

Storytelling is an art, but it does not have to be a painful, arduous, or time consuming task.  I think many of us in the connected world have been telling our stories since we signed on to a social media tool.  The challenge for all of us is to take it beyond our own professional experiences and begin to share more stories of those educators doing incredible work who deserve to be honored for positively impacting the life of a child.  It is through the work of educators that we can see excellence in practice each and every day in our students.  In the end we'll emerge as a more reflective and grateful profession as we unlock greatness that is present throughout schools across the globe.

My challenge to all of you is to become the storyteller-in-chief for your school, community, and/or PLN.  Share the success of your students, colleagues, and those that you connect with online.  Look for those special moments in your buildings that are being done by innovative teachers and administrators that are not connected.  Try experimenting with guest blog posts from educators and students.  Encourage colleagues to attend and participate in Edcamps or Twitter chats.  When at a mainstream conference go up to someone you don't know and capture their story.  I bet that you will make that educators day! 

I believe awards and honoring educators through the art of storytelling can coexist even if we don't agree.  Let's just agree to pursue the better path in the near term that is positive, supportive, and inspiring. Together we are better even in the face of challenges and disagreement.  It's time for all of us to do our part through action and in the process it will honor members of our amazing profession.


  1. Challenge accepted Eric! Listening to another educator is a great way to learn, to empower and to ground yourself. Our profession is amazing.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. Story-telling is vital and we need to re-learn the art using today's amazing tools. Images, videos, and words have a greater impact than anything else, ESPECIALLY when inspiring innovation, creativity and risk-taking.

    Thank you, Eric!

    Kristin Daniels

  3. Thank you both for your comments. Our profession is amazing and it is up to each and everyone of us to share stories of excellence to honor those that deserve acknowledgement for their dedication to our students and to silence the critics. Stories can be told through social media, conference presentations, informal gatherings, and even award ceremonies. They key is that more people begin to act instead of just talk. Telling a story is an action step in my book.

  4. I accept your challenge, Eric. I have been attempting to share our story through my twitter account, the school's twitter account, and my blog. Unfortunately there are too many negative stories about education these days. We have positive stories to tell and it is vital that we share the stories of our schools.
    Keep fighting the good fight.

  5. Jay - Together we can flip the script (and rhetoric for that matter).

  6. Storytellers unite! Love this idea! Have you heard of EduWin? You can tweet positive stories about education with the hashtag #eduwin ... You can also submit and read about other eduwins at http://www.whatisyoureduwin.com/

  7. Danielle - I did not know about that. Thank you so much for sharing. What a great way to share and spread stories of excellence!!!!

  8. "Stories are gifts- share" is such a great way to leave a healthy and positive mark on students. I've always wanted to do this, I guess I need to find how. Thanks for the marvelous insight.