Lessons Learned from #IMMOOC

Whoa. I can’t believe these past six weeks with #IMMOOC are over. Grateful to have met and learned from so many incredible professionals. This experience embodied all that George Couros writes about in Innovator’s Mindset. Here is a little bit about the growth I’ve experienced.

Be Brave

Spending so much time reflecting, writing, chatting on Twitter about Innovator’s Mindset has been transformational. I’m more in touch my WHY when making decisions because I’ve spent A LOT of time writing and reading the thoughts of others. As a result, I’m sitting a little taller, and I’m taking on courageous conversations like never before. Honestly, before this experience, I did a lot of listening. And listening is great and very important. And sure, I would ask questions and sometimes hard questions to challenge other people’s thinking. And good questioning is important. BUT, I rarely shared my thinking, my personal struggles, and my DREAMS. Hearing and reading people like Jo Boaler, Alice Keeler, and Katie Martin write and speak boldly about topics like homework inspired me beyond words. Loved hearing the voices of other strong female educators. Sometimes, people need to know what leaders think too. Should people leave conversations wondering where we stand on an issue? I’m starting to think maybe NO.

Find Your Why

While enjoying this powerful experience, I also read Find Your Why by Simon Sinek, David Mead, and Peter Docker. As I reflect upon educators like Tara Martin and the various #IMMOOC participants, their WHY is so evident. It’s encouraging to listen to mission-driven educators. People whose personal and professional mission are one in the same. In Find Your Why, Simon Sinek says that really our WHY is not separate. And there is something liberating and therapeutic in that line of thinking. Makes me think about what Brene Brown calls, “Living a wholehearted life.” I loved how Tara described the cannonball into her next big adventures…and she used the analogy of pouring gasoline onto someone’s edu-fire…Tara, forgive me if I’ve misquoted you. But yes, a thousand times, yes. Often in education, we hear people talk about not needing to hit home runs -that getting onto a base is a win too. Well, of course, it is, and that does feel good to think about on our difficult days. But for me, listening to someone like Tara think big, dream big, and do big…that sent electricity through my spirit. To hear her talk about her upcoming book that’s coming out. Just wow. There is something about knowing that we don’t always have to think small that’s inspirational. Our students deserve for us to think big and do big.

Be Messy and Afraid

I enjoyed listening to George Couros and Dwight Carter talk about their struggles. George’s story of vulnerability and Dwight’s story of working through difficult feedback were important for me to hear. I’ve been reflecting upon how many of my decisions are made out of fear. Fear of what others will think of me. But true success is when we move past the fear and receive the feedback as information to be considered. They also talked about how important it is that we take care of ourselves, so we can take care of others. Sometimes, we don’t need to push through the fear. Sometimes, we need a day off. As Todd Whitaker says, “When the principal sneezes, the whole building gets a cold.” We are all human. We are all going to struggle. So, knowing when we need that time for restoration, and then taking it, is important. Appreciated Annick Rauch’s thoughtful blog post, Health First, about this very topic. “We have an even bigger impact on kids [and staff] than we realize, so we have to be very mindful of what we’re putting out there.”

Feeling a little sad signing off, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s the power of connection in the Twitterverse. I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue connecting with and learning from these amazing educators. Maybe I will continue writing too. 🙂

So, to my #IMMOOC connections: thank you. And a special thank you to George. Your work is changing my life.