Believe - My Educational Brand
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This post has two parts. I’ve been on the lookout for what makes a good blog over the past 2 weeks. My colleagues taking a graduate course with me have been an excellent example (blogs listed in the reference). Others are mentioned below. First I’ll discuss features I’ve noticed in others blogs that I want to incorporate moving forward and how they can impact a school’s story. The second part is about me and how I’m partnering my ideology and relevant technology to “promote my brand”. I know, it sounds egocentric right? It’s anything but.
Part I: The Takeaways
The more I see others Professional Learning Networks (PLN) the more daunting the task seems to grow one. I hope one day I can look back at this beginning and realize how far I have come. One article that attracted me to Tom Murray’s website was on PLNs. I was drawn to the vast ways in which Tom is connected socially. It is evident across his site. Embedding these resources throughout in unique and visual ways helps the viewer to easily connect on a platform valuable to them. Being connected on various platforms reaches numerous stakeholders in education. Another blog, that was concluded in 2015 for commenting, but still houses many excellent posts that are pertinent to teachers and administrators was Joe Mazzo’s Blog Lead Learners. In here he discusses the importance of starting a PLN for better or worse.
A post from Chris Wejr discusses the “Maybe Dad” since dad MIGHT be home for dinner. It’s a good reminder of prioritizing, balancing and committing to job and life. It’s a subtle reminder as you try to justify saving the world and living the one life you are given. It also reminds me that by being connected to your community you want to make sure you show you are human. Yes, you are in charge of helping run a school, but being personable and relatable can help you show that everyone at your building is in this journey together. This is a powerful reason for having a blog.
Finally, a post from Eric Sheninger discussing the importance of Preparing Students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It was a fascinating article discussing the skills necessary for students to succeed. What I loved about his blog is I got to this article through looking at the archives, selecting a post that caught my eye (showing the importance of a good title), and then clicking on a link in the article to push me to a previous article. Referring back to prior posts for content that was linked, cited and embedded instead of rewriting the information will make for an easy to follow post. It allows the reader to decide if that information will be pertinent for what they are looking for.
After visiting numerous other blogs I’m starting to see the importance of administrators creating PLNs and telling their school’s story, and the impact it can have on the administration, teachers and eventually students through the power of sharing a brand. Developing a brand for your school can improve the culture, performance and resources (2104). It can demonstrate student achievement, activities, quality of staff and programs being implemented. Most importantly, there are great things happening in education, share them with the world.
Part II: The Change
But that’s not as easy as it sounds. For me, social media has been more of a one way street. I use it to browse in some free time, read others opinions and rarely react. Is it my place to engage in conversation? Forward others thinking? Join in the discussion? I don’t. Correction. I didn’t. As I have begun to blog about my passion of education and “learn the ropes”, I have quickly started to realize the potential. I’ve always been in the mind frame that social media helps promote a person, and it seems somewhat self-centered. It’s not in my nature to gloat. Then I read this from Eric Sheninger (2014), “if you’ve shied away because social media seems to be an “all-about-me” effort, get beyond that. This isn’t egocentric behavior; it’s leadership survival in a digital world of messaging and a means to an educational end.” So I will change. I am changing.
Sheninger challenges his readers to find a word that brands their professional careers. A word that relates to their personality, identifies their thinking and forms their reasoning. I took that challenge. I came up with an exuberant amount of buzzwords, education words, tech savvy words. I want it to sound current. I want others to like it. But they weren’t the truth. They may be someone else’s brand, but not mine. I fell back on the idea of why I got into the profession. Why I wanted to help students, and why ultimately I feel I can do the same for teachers.
Believe in your passion. Believe in your friends, your colleagues, your staff. Believe in the people who helped you get to where you are today. But most importantly, believe in yourself. Believe you can make a difference. Believe you can change the world. Believe you have what it takes to accomplish goals others thought weren’t possible. This is my brand. And now my journey begins to build the brand that shaped the person I am and the leader I want to become.
Resources:Sheninger, E. (2014). Digital leadership: Changing paradigms for changing times. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Colleagues Blogs:Sean Feeley