How Do We Get More Reading?

I remember one day in university, I was waiting at the bus stop with my good friend, Matt, as we were on our way to Nipissing for an evening class. I happened to mention to Matt that he was one of the luckiest people that I knew, and that’s when he spoke to me about his beliefs on “luck”: best summarized by saying that in life, we really create our own destiny. I couldn’t help but think back on this conversation today as I commented on this great blog post by Doug Peterson.

When it comes to having administrators in our Board reading what I share through my blogs (class and professional), I feel very fortunate. My past and current principal and vice principal regularly read my blog posts. Sometimes they comment on them. Sometimes they tweet me about them, or even share them via Twitter. And sometimes they email me about these posts or we discuss them in person. We don’t talk about every post — I blog a lot 🙂 — but we do talk about many of them, and I know that they read them. I also know that other people in our Board read them: from people at my school (teachers, EAs, parents, and one of our secretaries), teachers in other schools, and even one of our superintendents and the previous Director of EducationHow do all of these people come to read my blog posts? Because I share these posts with them. I may specifically email or tweet them links, or I may just send out general tweets, and they may happen to catch them. Whatever the way, I’m glad that they read these posts, and I’m even happier that they talk to me about them.

While I can understand the point in Doug’s post that it’s important for administrators to know what teachers are doing, I think that if we, as teachers, want administrators and superintendents to know, then we need to share this information with them. We need to encourage them to read what we write, but we also need to be open to feedback from them: positive and negative. This is not about administrators evaluating us. It’s about learning together, hearing other perspectives, contemplating difficult questions, and being open to new ideas. Reflecting on Doug’s post, I can’t help but wonder why we want administrators and superintendents to read our posts. Is it because we want them to celebrate what we do in the classroom, or is it because we want to learn together with them? I think that we need to have both.

I also think that we need to consider those people that are not sharing online. There are amazing educators doing incredible things in our schools every day, but they’re not using social media. How are we seeing what they’re doing? How are administrators and superintendents getting glimpses into their classrooms? Maybe what Doug’s post highlights the most is the need for “sharing and celebrating time” with teachers, administrators, and superintendents. I wonder if we can think beyond “luck” and create the conditions for this to happen. As we work and learn together, those that benefit the most are the students.  How do we get all stakeholders in education reading, listening, sharing, and conversing? Are we all ready to hear these varied voices? I’d love to hear what you have to say!



2 thoughts on “How Do We Get More Reading?

  1. Interesting extension on my post, Aviva. You mention “Is it because we want them to celebrate what we do in the classroom, or is it because we want to learn together with them?” The impetutus behind my post wasn’t the first one. I don’t think that superintendents have enough hours in the day to celebrate everyone. I do strongly agree with your second part. I think it’s important that we all learn together and also to identify any disconnect between people who should be on the same page. There are truly amazing things that happen daily. I guess the question becomes one of how do people know if not connected?

    • Thanks for the comment, Doug! I agree with you about the importance of us “learning together,” but how do we see this feedback and these discussions as “learning opportunities” and not “evaluation of our teaching practices?” Once every five years we’re officially evaluated, but learning is ongoing, and I see so much value to being able to dialogue, reflect, and change based on conversations with not just other teachers, but also EAs, parents, administrators, and superintendents. How do we create a culture where we can all feel comfortable with sharing feedback (removing any real or perceived educational hierarchies when doing so)? While I know that there are many people out there that want to have these kinds of discussions with administrators and superintendents (and I’m one of them), I wonder if everyone feels the same way. If not, why? Is there a way to change this?

      While I also agree with you that administrators and superintendents “do not have enough hours in the day to celebrate everyone,” I can’t help but wonder if “celebration” is one of the reasons we want others to read our work. Celebration also lends itself to encouragement, which I think all teachers need. Maybe all of us learning together eventually results in both feedback and celebration.

      And for those people that don’t share online, I think it’s when administrators come into our classrooms that they see this work in action. Using social media, we open up our rooms to the world. Maybe an open door in the school is the way to start this for those that don’t share online. Again, it’s not about evaluation, but the chance for dialogue about teaching, learning, and student success. I think this is a good thing!


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