Model What you Seek.

“Model what you seek.”

Those are the words I needed to hear. And those are the words that have been simultaneously stressing me out and encouraging me ever since George Couros spoke to me about blogging at SeLNO (Thunder Bay’s regional conference on technology-enabled learning).

George: Katie, do you blog?

Me: No

George: You should. Model what you seek.

Between you and me, I didn’t like hearing those 4 words: Model what you seek. I didn’t like them because they were what I knew deep down to be true. It’s not as though I’ve never thought about blogging before. Last Spring, I made up my mind that I was going to start sharing my thoughts in a digital space. Here I am – ONE YEAR LATER – finally doing it.

So, what took so long? I can chalk it up to 4 questions:

  1. What if no one thinks that what I have to share is worthwhile?
  2. Is it going to make me look like a know-it-all?
  3. How can I fit it into my schedule?
  4. What if people see me working on a blog post during the work day? Will it look bad?

I was afraid – afraid of the vulnerability, afraid of the time commitment, and afraid of how it would make me “look.” But, then there were those 4 words: Model what you seek. I decided to take myself out of the equation and think about how I would answer those questions if a teacher in my school board came to me with them.

1. What if no one thinks that what I have to share is worthwhile?

Of course what you have to share is worthwhile! As an educator, we spend our entire career encouraging our students to share what they’ve learned with others – that’s how we grow as people; we learn from one another.

2. Is it going to make me look like a know-it-all?

Think about the people who you know who have blogs. How do you feel about them? You likely don’t think that they believe they have all of the answers. Bloggers are just eager to share their thinking to a large audience. Part of what they are doing is  looking for a conversation with others, so that they themselves can become better educators.

3. How can I fit it into my schedule?

You need to make it part of your work day. If you read through the Ontario College of Teachers’ Standard of Practice, you’ll see that Reflection is part of your job. Writing to an audience will help you gather your thoughts, encourage you to question, and give you a venue to get others’ opinions. All of this is worth the time it takes, because it will make you a better teacher.

4. What if people see me working on a blog post during the work day? Will it look bad? 

This question has less to do with you, and more to do with the people who are assuming that you are doing something that isn’t related to student learning. If anyone questions you, take it as an opportunity to show them the value of having a professional learning network who you connect with online.

So, my beliefs obviously didn’t match my actions. Why in the world could I encourage another person to blog when I was afraid of doing it? It’s simple: this is a risk for me that takes me out of my comfort zone. But, as the contact for technology-enabled learning for my school board, how can I be asking teachers to blog when I’m not willing to take that risk? Am I scared? Heck yes! But, in my role, I’m often asking people to try new things. And this blog is “my next”  (Mark Carbone). Model what you seek. Thanks George.

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18 thoughts on “Model What you Seek.

  1. I am really proud of you for jumping in! It is not about making a blog, or starting a twitter account. It is about trying something new and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, which you have done here. Without discomfort, there is little learning.

    Great first post! I am looking forward to more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great points and great first post. Public reflection takes a great amount of courage. I have to do a better job at making it part of my day so that I blog on a more regular basis. Thanks for the honest answers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Model what you seek.” Love it – thanks for sharing “Why in the world could I encourage another person to blog when I was afraid of doing it?” I too have struggled to blog, finding time, finding topics that might interest others/me. I have lots of excuses. It is so important to lead by example, but I think you’ve hit on the other purpose of trying to do something as you “seek” Best wishes on your journey!

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  4. I began blogging as a way to archive the things I was doing. It was entirely for me, so I wouldn’t have to type out that same email to another colleague or figure out that same Excel trick or try to remember who wrote that good article. The most frequent visitor to my blog is…me! Write for yourself. If it’s interesting and valuable, others will find it, too.

    Peter

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  5. Katie! What an amazing first post! You have identified everything that many who are contemplating starting a blog are thinking about and articulated it well! I will certainly be looking forward to future posts from you and am happy to be part of your new PLN :). Perhaps some day we will meet in person!

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  6. Great first entry Katie!

    A couple things that you mentioned stand out with me, but most importantly, your title: Model what you speak.

    Being in roles such as ours, it’s so easy to get caught up in trying to show people what to do, how to do it, etc… but if we don’t have anything to show them as work of our own, I find that it is more difficult to get buy-in from your audience. Sure, we can praise the tool, the practice, or even share successes that others have experienced, but a true leader will do exactly what you have shared – ‘model what you speak’.

    This phrase reminds me of how important it is to speak from experience and to have evidence of the practice that people can not only see, but really get a sense of your experiences. In doing so, your audience will be able to not only see, but feel that there is more passion in sharing what you’re doing and what you believe in, rather than what you believe in. Granted, we don’t have time to do it all given that our roles can get quite involved, but reflection is probably one of the most beneficial practices to show not only colleagues, but students as well.

    I for one have tried on a few occasions to try and post more to my own blog, as I believe it to be such a valuable practice. No matter what you’re role, reflection should be a part of everyone’s daily practice and I think that we all do more of it than we think – we just don’t all put it into words on paper, on a blog or in a quick thought/tweet.

    I hadn’t really thought about using time throughout the day to even start a blog post on something that may have happened so the thought wasn’t lost, thinking that blogging was more of a personal thing to do.

    So Katie, thank you for reminding me that I shouldn’t be afraid to have my WordPress panel open even for a few minutes to work away at a post, because it’s more than that. Reflections will not only benefit me either personally, professionally, or both, but could also potentially help – or at the very least entertain – my audience.

    Looking forward to your future posts!

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  7. Katie, terrific first blog. I think that your thoughts held true for a lot of people. I think one of the best ways to influence others and get them to follow is to model the desired behaviour. You are a great model for many! Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Katie, I’m so glad you have taken this step! It’s so hard to change the mindset that social media is the “enemy”. Thanks for raising up as a positive voice. This will definitely be a jumping off point for some of the hesitant newcomers that are slowly making their way into the social media realm. Great first blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Awesome, Katie. Welcome to the blogosphere!

    I’ve enjoyed blogging for the past two and a half years, and it’s been good for to articulate my thinking (and comments from others help enormously). I hope you have a great time as well, and I look forward to seeing your posts in my feed!

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  10. A great blog Kate…. I have avoided blogging for all the same reasons you did. I appreciate that you reminded me of the importance of “taking myself out of the equation”. Time to set that goal.

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  11. Nice blog Kate…….. it seems to me that your words ‘model what you seek’ is transportable across so many platforms!!

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  12. Hello Katie!
    Thank you so much for SHARING! Before I started my first website/blog in early January I grappled with the same questions for years. BUT, we gain nothing without risk!
    By SHARING best practises, ideas, resources and exemplars we help to make the vocation of teaching our students (and ourselves) more enriched, improved, collaborative and rewarding!
    I look forward to learning and SHARING with you!
    -Peter

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  13. Wow, imagine a teacher working in his/her blog – at work! I would be ecstatic to see that. An educator reflecting, questioning, inviting conversation and learning from colleagues around the world to help change practice for better student learning is exactly what we want teachers to do “at work” when they are not with students.

    We expect teachers to collaborate with each other, to push thinking, to verbalize challenges of practice and to problem-solve together f2f in our schools. Doing the same with the whole world of educators invites “crowd-accelerated innovation” (described here: https://fryed.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/the-key-to-innovative-practice-more-ideas/).

    Congratulations on having the courage, and the understanding of the importance of digital literacy, to model connected visible learning by starting a blog. Thank you as well for extending our understanding of why it is so challenging for educators (who come from a system that served our old world well) to thrive and model open practice in the physical and digital spaces that make up the world our children will inherit.

    I look forward to reading more!

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  14. Hi Katie, I really liked this blog, especially how you set up the questions – that so many also have:) – and then answered them. I especially liked the point you made about the Standards of Practice and reflection. I had never thought of that. Anyway, great blog, and keep going with it!

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