I often (read almost always), think of my life as a Disney movie and as such, carefully consider the lessons to be learnt from Disney. One such important lesson is that one must overcome adversity before you can live happily ever after, think Cinderella and her evil step sisters. Sometimes one needs to take a calculated risk, think Tangled and Brave. Or, as Mator from Cars would teach us, one must often persevere in our attempts to connect with people (or with cars in Mator's case). However, it has come to my attention that I have missed an important Disney lesson. Fortunately, the infinitely wise Sir Ken Robinson pointed it out - find your tribe, because together you will be more and do more.
I started my second week at Hobsonville Point with the mission to catch up on some of the reading that happened before I started there this term. Of course being a TEDster, I began with Sir Ken Robinson's book, The Element. Although he has some fantastic insights about finding your passion, the part that really stuck with me is that of finding your tribe. The tribe being a group of people that challenge you in a positive way, people that drive you to do more and to be more. Tribes often share a vision and as such, they can question, challenge and motivate. I realised then that I already have a tribe. And an exceptional one at that. My tribe is called #edchatNZ. They have challenged, motivated, questioned and inspired me fortnightly for more than a year now. And fortunately, I think many of the tweeting teachers have found the same.
My dinner has been sitting with me for the last hour. #edchatNZ you have been too valuable, and engaging to eat.
— Christopher Symon (@CJsymon) October 17, 2013
#edchatNZ gosh this tweet stream is moving so fast it's hard to keep up *happy birthday* to this dynamic group of contributors
— Justine Driver (@digitallearnin) October 17, 2013
I suspect that it is due to these teachers on twitter and their impact on my growth and aspirations that I may have found a second tribe to be part of. For two weeks now I have been able to go to work and be surrounded by inspirational personal and professional stories. I have been able to question my visions for education and my classroom with support rather than with the well cultivated cynicism that plagues teachers lounges all over the world. Granted that there are oodles of experience and learning to do from the individuals in any staff room, I have realised that in certain environments, my own thinking becomes limited, lower order thinking if you like. Maybe they will inspire an idea for a lesson or a better classroom management strategy. Maybe they will cause me to go back and look at the way I planned a lesson or a unit and restructure. However, I have found that the right mix of positive, passionate educators in a room, my own thinking, questioning and thirst for knowledge is extended. They keep me awake at night. Whether it is because I lost track of time reading a great book they recommended, researching a new perspective or idea they exposed me to, or simply lying awake at night with all the ideas that have been generated and are now keeping me awake.
Isaac Newton wrote "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants." I am fascinated and curious what the future will bring for all the members of the Hobsonville Team and their students. With such passion, commitment and skill all reigned in for one vision, I think the results will be exciting indeed!
PS: If you aren't already, I urge you to follow the Hobsonville tribe and #edchatNZ on Twitter!