Monday, February 5, 2018

The Next 10 Words #Next10Words

I had an amazing conversation on Twitter (Click for the thread) about actual change in education and not just cute Twitter quotes. Whenever I see those Twitter cards, I'm always drawn to this clip from the West Wing.

President Bartlet is right. What are the next 10 words? What is the actual plan to make things happen? It will be much more than 10 words and it should be. Real change is nuanced and important ideas need to be discussed. Education is not going to be changed with a cute hashtag and a link to a book. What are the real plans to disrupt education? How are you taking specific actions to make education different and better? As educators engaged in social media, are we doing enough to push back? Are we too polite? Is that why teachers are so easy to push around?

I know I have been guilty of not wanting to start a "thing" on Twitter by pressing certain people for the next 10 words. Heck, there is a very good chance I've been guilty of sharing the first 10 and nobody asked me for the next 10. I try to use my blog as the place for the next 10 + words, but are people devoting the time to explore nuanced issues on blogs anymore? Are teachers too afraid to push themselves and read things they do not agree with because they are afraid to challenge their worldview?

We need the next 10 words right now. I want people to challenge other educators for the next 10 words when you see these passing tweets. If we want to make needed change, we need to embrace the fact that it is going to be hard and that there are going to be disagreements. As long as we can be civil and can push each other to think and grow from these discussions, good things can happen. If we can't do this, we will continue to live in our digital silos listening to the echo of our own ideas and then complaining that nothing ever changes.

I want to encourage people to write a post or share a comment where you want to hear the next 10 words. Better yet, share your next 10 words on an issue. Add the tag #Next10Words and let’s see if people are willing to dive into nuanced conversation to see if we can move forward in our goals to improve education.


  1. Saturday's conversation made me think long and hard about the work I do, and how I do it...and how I convey it to others. I'm worried that the quotes and high fives are doing more harm than good. It's like Instagram - everyone shares their beautiful photos and we look at those and think, "why isn't my life that grand? Why doesn't my boyfriend buy me roses for no reason?" But the truth behind the photo is that it was photo 52 after 51 ugly ones. There are 10 filters stacked on top of it to reduce crow's feet and double chins; and maybe the boyfriend bought the roses because he was a jerk the night before.
    We need to be real - and that means sharing our failures, our questions, our areas in which we just don't know... and none of that fits in a 10 word quote. But the fear...oh the fear for being called out as less than perfect, less than an awesome teacher. It's a scary proposition. There were moments in our tweets Saturday when I thought, "What would my superintendent think of this thread?" (She'd be fine with it, I'm sure, but there was still some momentary pauses before I clicked the post button.)
    The quotes seem to reflect out current attention span - people scroll twitter and it's easy to read a quote and then retweet it. But when they see a link to a blog post, or an article, that requires time and energy and thought, it isn't as easy to digest and we keep scrolling. I'm guilty of it at times - I scan a blog post and don't comment. I read a tweet that makes me pause, but I don't respond. I see a short quote with a sunset background and think, "oh that's nice. Retweet."
    But no more. I'm going to act with intention, just like I ask my teachers to do every day they are teaching. I hope people like you hold me to that, and push back on me when I succumb to the fluff.

  2. As a country, we need to place the same value on education as we do on sports or movies. Okay, not ten words.

  3. This is so powerful.
    It's easy to say stuff that sounds great- that inspires- that feels good... But then what? It's easy to agree with someone's powerful words... but then how do we use those powerful words to change us... to change the world?

    Several years ago, my husband was quite ill - deep in a battle with brain cancer. I had been fighting along side of him. We had been fighting hard- for about a year and a half. I spent every ounce of my energy in his corner while he battled the giant C. I sat by helplessly watching him take blow after blow. I could do nothing but wipe his bow and provide water during this brutal fight. There was only me in his corner and it was exhausting- each month requiring more and more of my energy, my soul. I was the only one that he trusted, the only one he would be real with.

    I was fortunate enough to have people in my corner, but it was only me in his.

    He was getting released from an assisted living facility after spending a few weeks in rehab after he took a brutal blow and needed more than what I could do to help him. I sat in the room with him - a social worker - his father (not helpful) - his mother (he didn't want help from). The social worker said that he would need someone with him 24 hours a day. His father said, "It'll get done."

    My heart sank. "It'll get done" until that point meant ME... It had ALL BEEN ON ME to care for him. I didn't have more to give.

    I broke free from the polite mask I had been wearing. "HOW?" I asked. "How will it get done. I NEED HELP and until now I've been the only one caring for him. Now he is coming home, needing 24 hour care and it's easy for you to say 'It'll get done' when you are not the one 'getting it done' How are YOU going to help?"

    With the social working looking at him, I think his father finally got it (a little bit.) I know that my husband did. From that moment, he became willing to allow his mom and his sister to help. And his father helped as well.

    He only needed that 24 hour care for a few weeks. I couldn't have done it on my own. I needed to push back my polite face and tell it like it was.

    I'm happy to say that my husband is doing awesome. The "Little F*er" as he named it is mostly dead, and we are leading a mostly normal life. We are grateful for each day - that's for sure.

    Okay... that was a VERY long response, but your post reminded me of that moment.

  4. So we have to be civil? You know how hard it is to push back without it looking like an attack? ;) #seewhatididthere?

  5. Research, accountability, and evidence leading to efficacy (not quotes and high fives) need to be emphasized more. More of us need to speak to the need to have real, substantive results.


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