Posted by: rdkpickle | 07.25.2014

things i am not sure about

when to be confident + when to embrace humility
when to share + when to listen
when to be supportive + when to be critical
when to work alone + when to seek help

What a talented, weird, thoughtful group of teachers we have here in Jenks for #tmc14. Today I spent a lot of time thinking about listening, status, fear, justification, identity, and more.

I don’t think we have something magical that couldn’t exist elsewhere. (Meaning: we are not “the best teachers!!!” But we are all teachers who care about getting better at what we do, which counts for a whole lot.)

I do think we’ve learned to learn from each other in ways that are hard to explain / duplicate. (For example: To be living through a task as a student, analyzing it as a teacher, listening to / noticing teacher moves made by presenter, and reading others’ thoughts about it in real time on twitter is a whole brain-body kind of experience.) Tomorrow I aim to ask better questions, engage more deeply, slow down, and sink in.

In almost every session today we spoke about exposing, discussing, honoring multiple approaches to the same question. Perhaps the teachers here are 150 unique solutions to a pretty worthy task. I am watching all of you very closely Рkeep teaching me.

(another thing I am not sure about: posting at 1 am. good. night.)

[Edit: Justin Lanier @j_lanier pushed me to expand on my thoughts a bit via twitter. Here’s what I wrote:

confidence/humility – when is it appropriate to carry each inside the classroom (to “sell” an activity or a topic to students, to share vulnerabilities about how things are going) and outside of the classroom (danger in thinking you have all of the answers vs. being cripplingly unsure of the value of your work)

share/listen – as a part of this community. what do i have to offer? what do i miss out on learning by worrying about what i can uniquely contribute?

supportive/critical – how to support friends/colleagues as they grow in thoughts about teaching when i may disagree with choices they make or things they say because of “where” they are in that process. also how to step back and put everything through my brain twice (like in sessions here) when things are moving at breakneck pace. not just nodding in agreement at a nice soundbite but stopping and saying, “huh, what assumptions are being made here? do i agree?”

work alone/seek help – in my planning process, this year + in the future. why is it hard for me to be truly collaborative/let people in on what i’d like to do or make]



  1. Expanding further on the share / listen balance, I tend to be a get-er-done guy. I don’t want to spend too much time reading everything else out there because it cuts into my building / creating time. The downside is that I often reinvent the wheel when I could be stealing ideas or improving and re-sharing ideas. Since TMC I have been doing a lot more observing than creating, so I’m trying to figure out where that pendulum should balance. It is hard to be connected and aware and yet contributing at a high level.

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