While at ISTE this week, I met several people whom I hadn’t yet had the privilege of meeting f2f . People like John Spencer, whom I admire and respect for being able to articulate and defend ideas on not just education, but living life. People like Tom Murray, who is ya know, was just testifying before Congress about what is really happening in education. Or like subway navigating Bill Selak, who just may be the coolest guy I’ve ever hung around with. His facets of fascination make me cringe in inferiority!
It always reminds me when I meet these twitter “friends” how much more there is to them in real life. They’re not just a bio and 140 character message. Voxer has certainly helped, adding nuances and full personalities to those screen names I know so well. (Ahem, Tony Sinanis.) But there is more. They are husbands, they are wives. They are teachers, they are administrators. They have personalities, and they can be hurt.
Today, Nick Provenzano, another virtual stranger turned friend shared an incredibly personal piece about dealing with anxiety and depression. Many people may claim that technology is dehumanizing relationships, but to me social media is the gateway to a connection that would have never existed. My heart just broke as I read what the amazingly effusive “nerdy teacher” was going through. We couldn’t walk to lunch this past week without being stopped by people wanting to take pictures with him or meet him in person…yet inside he was struggling.
My point here is one that I have, especially this past year, internally crystallized. Please don’t forget that we are all in this together. No one will thrive in an environment of criticism and constant critiques. Regardless of your role in education…say good morning to others! Be positive! There is more to doing what we do than making a point or always being “right”. Know what? Being right isn’t a change agent. Remember that we are in a people business, no matter what part you play in a school day. If your role is to support teachers, do it from a place of mutual respect and appreciation. If you are dealing with an administrator you disagree with, guess what? We ALSO have feelings. Being able to effectively communicate without alienating your coworkers is crucial for a cohesive working environment.
Just because you disagree with someone, doesn’t mean you have to disrespect them. As an extremely (albeit unhealthily) sensitive person, this was was a huge wake up to me. How can I deliver leadership in a way that I myself, the super sensitive sassy girl, could handle? It’s a daily challenge!
Adam Bellow challenged us all this year to post an instagram tagged with #TYIW (this year I will) and my resolve now, post ISTE, is to remember that everything I share, think, say or do, impacts PEOPLE. Not just strangers on the internet…but someone who may just be a conversation away from being a friend.
Use your power for good, people! (go crickets.)
For other Principals are People Too posts, see these from…