Let Me Tell You A Story

Let me tell you a story. It started with the fact that I’m a planner. Yes, I’m constantly changing my plans. Yes, at times I wonder why I bother planning ahead, but I think that I feel better knowing that I have some ideas, even if they constantly change. And so, at the end of last week, when I realized that The Hundredth Day was coming up, I needed to start thinking (and planning).

I shared my questions. I shared my thinking. I shared my plans. And then a wonderful thing happened. My story with my questions and my thinking quickly became “our story.” Comments appeared on the post. Tweets came through. A fellow educator even blogged her thinking. Every thought, every question, and every plan shared, made me reconsider my story. My plans altered, and continue to alter, thanks to your additions.

What may have started off as good became better because of you. This whole experience makes me think of Dean Shareski‘s talk at The HWDSB Principals’ Conference on Thursday. Now I wasn’t at the conference, so my whole understanding of what he shared is through the tweets and blog posts (here and here) that I saw. All of these speak about the power of storytelling. When I blog, I tell a story. When I tweet, I also tell a story (usually numerous short ones 🙂 ). And when people respond with a comment on the post or a tweet in reply, they add to this story. As seen from my 100th Day post, they also make this story better.

Thinking about storytelling, and more so, thinking about that storytelling that happens through social media, makes me wonder about those people that don’t share online. How are their stories told? How do they add to the stories of others? How do they experience the joy of “communal storytelling?” Regardless of your role in education, I’d love to hear the impact that storytelling has had on your “teaching” and “learning” experiences. How do you “tell” stories? How do you let others share theirs? How do you learn from each other? Let’s create a new “story” together!


4 thoughts on “Let Me Tell You A Story

  1. This is so great! It’s exactly the reason I started blogging and tweeting in the first place. For me that story started as one I just felt like I was telling myself–like before I had followers and people to read my blogs and tweets–but now it is definitely a story I tell with others, too. I like how you worded it, and your questions are great ones. I find a place to do that storytelling online, and sadly wish I could do more of it in person with the ladies I actually work with on a daily basis. I guess as long as you’re doing it somewhere that’s better than nowhere, right? But then there are all of those countless friends who aren’t sharing ANYWHERE, but are instead working really hard on their own, which can be so isolating and discouraging. I SO appreciate the way I am inspired and even challenged when I read others’ words (like yours!) and how I know what I am able to do for my students is far better because of the learning and collaborating that happens with my friends. I sometimes feel like a Twitter ambassador as I share and share and share about the people I “meet” and the things I learn. It’s kind of like my crazy love of Disney–it’s really hard to explain the magic to someone who hasn’t experienced it…but the only way to “get” it is to experience it. How have you found success in spreading the word about online learning and personalized PD like Twitter with those you know in person? I have a great principal who leads out on stuff like that, but would love for even more of my colleagues to be included. Thanks again for this great post, and including me in it. 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, Jen! Ideally, I think it’s wonderful if our in-person stories (and dialogue) can be added to our online ones to create an even better story with all of the ideas shared together. In my opinion, we all need a chance to share though. It’s through this sharing that our ideas improve. We benefit, but our students do as well.

      Over the years, I’ve worked at some schools with lots of people that share online, and some with very few. I usually try to share interesting articles, activities, and ideas with my colleagues that I’ve learned from Twitter and blogs. I notice that my past and current admin do the same. As others see this sharing, I think they become even more inspired to get involved. Online learning and sharing may not be for everyone though, but sharing itself is so important. And then I look at what happened yesterday with my 100th Day Post, and I can’t help but wonder what would have been lost if I didn’t tweet, didn’t blog, and didn’t have a PLN. I think that these stories of “shared storytelling” are more of the ones that we need to share with our colleagues to highlight the true power of “social learning.”


      • My school has a Facebook page (started by our instructional coach) where we can post things that we find interesting ( I think I put like 4 or 5 articles up there just this weekend–and yes, they were found on Twitter!), but it’s only for people who are on Facebook, which is not everyone. There are many who lurk on Twitter and occasionally do a chat (we have #moedchat in MO where I am, which is a GREAT resource!), but again, it’s not everyone. Honestly, one of the reasons I appreciate the connections I find online is because of the risks that people are willing to take with me there. I am definitely a risk-taker and am always looking new and innovative ways to do things–much of that “new” comes from ideas I find from cyberspace and the REALLY SMART people who share there (again, like you!).

        • Jen, I totally understand what you’re saying here. I can’t help but think about the title of a workshop session at the ECOO Conference a couple of years ago. I may have the exact wording wrong, but it was something along the lines of, “It’s okay to be where you’re at, as long as you don’t stay there.” Twitter and blogs help us continue to move forward. There are always people around to question ideas, offer new ones, and help us think in different ways. Maybe this can also happen without social media, but I think we need to create an environment that allows (and encourages) risk-taking and feedback. How do we create this environment? Does everyone want to hear this feedback? I can’t help but continue to come back to the idea that I thought I had a “good idea,” but with the ideas shared by others, it’s now so much “better.” How many other ideas have I chosen not to share that could be improved by this sharing process? How do we help others see the value in this? I’m really not sure. I am glad though that I get to learn from amazing people online (like you) that help me get better at what I do. I improve, and my students benefit.

          Thanks Jen for being a very important part of my PLN! (And thanks for the kind words as well!)

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