When I first opened my twitter account in 2014 to interact with John Mayer I had absolutely no idea the transformation that awaited me. While my brain has been overflowing with all of the ideas that I have amassed over these 3 ½ years, I have hesitated to start a blog. I compare it to a snowstorm (probably because I am in frozen Connecticut right now). Snow sometimes gently falls other times is whips in windswept swirls; there are infinite possibilities for each flake, glistening on the branches of an evergreen tree, shoveled into a snow bank, molded into a snowball, or sculpted into a snowman. My mind has been experiencing a blizzard of ideas and experiences that I was not ready to assemble into a “snowman” until now. This does not surprise me because I have always been a late-bloomer, contemplative; because of this I am always late and usually distracted…. but always thinking and synthesizing. More about this later.
This is my year of synthesis! Finally, I am satisfied that I cannot cram any more unfinished thoughts into my mind, I cannot leave another blog post unpublished.
I want to start by acknowledging some of the people who have changed my life. I need to clarify that I value each and every interaction with each and every person and group of people that I encounter. For example one of the first interactions that I had with an educator on Twitter was with a parochial school teacher who insisted that having lunch with students was intruding on their privacy. This discussion volleyed back and forth with no closure. But, I still carry it with me and am mindful that she may not be totally incorrect :). I do not fool myself that I am a prominent educator who people should want to be acknowledged by, but I hesitate to list people because I do not want anyone to feel excluded. I will do my best to give credit to the great influencers in my journey at some point in this series.
With that being said, these are the people whose influence I feel every single day. Because of Starr Sackstein, I gave myself permission to think differently about grading and the courage to speak openly about unfair grading practices and create my own grading policy based on student growth and self-assessment.
My chats with Don Eckert and the WGSDchat crew encouraged me to change everything about my classroom and to NEVER reuse a lesson that I was not completely satisfied with.
Dr. Sarah Thomas – the great connector! through one brief interaction, she introduced me to Voxer and #EDUmatch. These have led me to restorative justice (and countless new connections) and the #EDUGladiators the most fearless advocates for students on the planet. Sarah is like a constellation connecting random points to create something recognizable and beautiful.
This is my year of synthesis; taking what I have gathered from countless valuable encounters and putting it all together in my own unique way. My time of being a mere consumer has come to an end.