Written and shared by Stacey Wallwin.
To answer the #OSSEMOOC 30 Days of Learning Challenge, “What have I learned?”…..
I have learned the new and much more powerful meaning to the phrase “you’re preaching to the choir”.
This year I decided to undertake a MOOC for my Board. The motivation behind the MOOC was to provide the school community with the opportunities to learn from and with each other in a flexible, online space. We opened up our learning to our coterminous board, and our First Nation education partners. The MOOC was designed to support those who wanted to learn more about the various technological tools that are available, to take control over their own ongoing learning and professional development, and to support teachers who were taking a lead in using technology in their classrooms by giving them a platform to showcase their knowledge.
I had the platform (Adobe), I had the enthusiasm, and I had support from fantastic teachers willing to share their expertise and experience ….and then I waited for the crowd of school community members to knock down the virtual door to engage in this PD opportunity. And I waited….
About half-way through the MOOC, I was asked how it was going and I said that it wasn’t going as expected. I had no new converts to tech integration and that I was “preaching to the choir” as the dedicated group of educators who turned in every week were already using some form of technology in their classrooms to engage theirstudents. The individual responded that “preaching to the choir” was just as important as getting new members to join. The response caught me off guard but I still felt like the MOOC had failed.
Thanx to @markwcarbone I was able to attend #gafesummit in Kitchener in April. Imagine a school filled with 600 educators on a Saturday and Sunday trying to soak up as much information as possible. The energy, passion and dedication to student learning was palpable. The choir was singing and loudly!
It was at #gafesummit that the phrase “preaching to the choir” was again uttered and this time the words resonated with me.
Many of us our trying to support a vision of learning for our students that is not yet considered the norm. It takes the usual characteristics of perseverance, resilience, grit, passion and a healthy amount of stubbornness to keep moving forward. But, sometimes being up front, and seemingly going it alone, (we all have those moments),can make you hesitate, doubt yourself and your vision.
Where am I going with this? What have I learned?……Perhaps the most important lesson of all. I can learn the latest technology and the latest app, but learning to build and nurture relationships is vital and the key to moving forward, and growing as a person, educator and as a leader. The latest technology cannot replace a choir that sings softly in the background or boisterously when needed, but most importantly, in tune with you. The choir build you up, puts the song back into your heart and reinvigorates.
As important as it is to build capacity among new educators, it is absolutely vital to nurture the relationships of those already “in the choir”. Like all sound relationships, the choir needs to be nurtured, supported and given time to practice and work together as a team. They are the early-risk takers and provide support and encouragement to each other and you.
The next time someone says, “you’re preaching to the choir”…keep up the good work!
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” ~H.E. Luccock
Stacey Wallwin is an education leader and eLearning Contact in northern Ontario. She shares her learning and her collection of resources here.
Follow Stacey on Twitter: @wallwins
Further reading: The Lone Wolf – By David Truss