Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Choir #edchat

I'm not sure what I hope to accomplish with this post, but it is a thought I have in my brain and the reasonI started this blog was to get thoughts out of there and onto here.

At what point are we all just preaching to the choir? I engage in conversation after conversation and most people walk away feeling good that others agree with their point. Am I not challenging myself enough by butting heads with people I disagree? Is it bad that I do not want to spend my free time arguing with others over Twitter? I want change and I'm applying for jobs that could put me in a position to start change, but is that enough?

I'm not being critical of others that share an engage on Twitter. If I am, that is not my intent. I feel like I hit a wall of frustration as I listen to more and more people talk about the right way to do things and the people that are in charge never seem to listen or choose not to.

What is the next step? We write, tweet, share, etc on how to do things, but what is step two? How about step 3? Do we continue to rage against the machine and do what we can in our isolated pockets and hope it just happens?

I do not have the answer to this question and that is where the frustration stems. I want to do more, but can a teacher do it on their own? Is it a fruitless task if we are not empowered to make the change that is necessary to help our students and better ourselves?

I'm not expecting for anyone to come in a give me the answer, but I guess I'm curious to see who is just as frustrated. It might be good for others if we all shared our frustration.



  1. Nick,

    I feel the same way. There are times when it's great talking to people who feel the same way you do and then there are times that it's frustrating because you have to come back to reality. The only thing I think we need to do is increase the size of the choir. I'm ready to add some more members!

    I interviewed Will Richardson the other day ( and my first question to him was, "where do we start?". He said, and I completely agree, is that we have start by having conversations with everyone involved in our students' education. It's not easy and it's not pretty, but we have to be willing to start.

    So maybe we should stop preaching to the choir. Maybe it's time for the choir to start singing. Maybe it's time the choir goes out and shares this message with the congregation. Who know? Maybe some of them are future choir members.

  2. It may be subversive but I frequently talk with my students about their education. I think they have tremendous amounts of unrealized power

    Teachers (not those on Twitter, lol) are conditioned to do what they're told and to not ask questions. We're told by the principal who's told by the central office who's told by the state who's told by the Feds...With the added bonus of "Do it or be fired" who'll speak out?

    I think students and parents need to make the change happen. Opt out of high stakes testing and demand more authentic assessments. They need to stop buying in to the idea that teachers are the enemy like we're often accused of bein in the media

  3. I was having that conversation with a friend yesterday. We've discussed the echo chamber before and I have seen many folks debate the fine points of "innovation." However, as great as it is to share resources, ideas, your passion, and so on with your followers and extended PLN, you are only really impacting people directly who share your mindset. The real impact to cause sweeping change happens with as the military says,"boots on the ground." The people that need to see our passion, learn from us (a vast PLN), and recognize the depth of change necessary aren't our Twitter followers and blog readers. Now, I think it's invaluable to do all of the above because it's does allow like-minded people to share valuable info and support each other, but it isn't the avenue for change in gen. pop. We need to collaborate in more ways to support each other in each of our fields, districts, locally.

  4. Dude, I hear ya. But you know, I need that reassurance. Because we are the minority we need to hear echos from each other because what I hear at my school is, "oh it's great that you do that (go gradeless, don't test-prep my kids, banish awards, etc) but I can't because..."

    What bugs me is that as much as I think I'm right there are tons of others who,think they're right. I don't see how Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan, or President Obama believe what they are preaching but they DO! So I so appreciate when Diane Ravitch says what I feel because I start to doubt myself.

    All I can do is hope that we are making a difference and educating a politician here and there because they either believe what they are doing or they are just damn corrupt and bought. What will drive me crazy if the changes we're fighting for don't come to pass until after I'm dead! Cause believe, I'll still care! I don't know how, but I will!

    So he'll yeah I'm frustrated!! Every freaking day! (And I don't even like the word freaking.)

  5. I am concerned that this wonderful synergy is bordering 'evangelical' please do not get offended, I understand we stand for everything proper in education; nevertheless, #edchat has not been a fit for many of my competent colleagues due to the 'preaching' aspect. It's outstanding to read this at a time when I have just had two separate conversations pertaining to the loose group of 'twitter educators' talking about the right way to do things and "the people in charge don't seem to listen".

    I hold true to the formation of an #edchat 'institution' in the next few years, we chat about rethinking PD so much, would a next step be a summer symposium?

    Whatever turn the #edchat sojourn takes, we must reflect on the difference between advocacy and preaching. As countless vibrant, well-intentioned initiatives we have witnessed drop inertia due to the entropy created by a thin eagerness.

    Great food for thought Nicholas,

    Paul Kelba
    Middle School Teacher

  6. One of my favorite people to have a education philosophy debate with is my wife because while we both started in the same school w/traditional instruction, we have veered in different, but parallel directions. She sees things from a progressive, yet traditional mindset, while I am always trying to push the envelope. We play devils advocate and frustrate each other with our ideas, but always come out with stronger products in the end.

    When I need to be reassured that I am doing the right thing in the classroom, I turn to the Twitter choir. But, when I really want to have someone question everything I do, like you, I need to seek someone who is going to question everything I believe.


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