Consistent Transparency

We have entered into an unprecedented time for us in not only education but the world as we know it. As schools begin to grapple with the ever-changing demands placed upon them, the world as a whole has to adapt. As school districts begin to move into the virtual environment, many educators and leaders may start to feel unequipped for this new landscape, but guess what? That is totally OK! Educator’s default setting is adaptability, well as long as they have, it toggled on 🙂 Educators are some of the most resilient and adaptable workers we have in our country. I have seen, just in the past few days, educators throw away all they know to board a ship that ventures into unknown territory, and guess what? They did it without even asking WHY!

The ReBirth of Innovation…

Many educators….and I mean…MANY really strive in this new educational landscape because they strive for innovation and finding novel ways to engage their students and families. I mean, we have literally had to actually control and filter a bit of the innovation only for consistency’s sake, but that just speaks to how amazing educators can be. They don’t ask for help, or guidance in turning their worlds upside down, they simply adapt in order to meet the needs of their students best. As we enter into the online world of education, educators will now begin to be even more transparent in their practice and their lives…just wait and see.

Consistent transparency is the model that I am adopting in this new educational landscape. I feel that now more than ever, we must show our stakeholders that we are also human. As students and families will be mostly within their homes, so will educators and leaders. Therefore, it only makes sense to be showing them that we are all in this together. This is why I vlog every day because we need to maintain those human connections despite the distance. This is also why I make a fool of myself sometimes because we need just to make someone laugh. Humor is an IMPORTANT part of distance learning or even just managing our connections from a far……like seriously….there are articles about it.

I have no doubt we will begin to see many funny moments from educators across the nation as they find fun ways to communicate with their stakeholders, and I will continue to do my part in trying to bring a smile to someone from afar.

As I type this introduction, I think about HOW many people are communicating regarding our nation’s current state of emergency. As of Friday, March 13th, both the President of the United States and our Governor of Vermont, issued a state of emergency. This comes at a time when schools not only across the nation but in Vermont have been preparing tirelessly for the unknown. With an impending decision for every school system across the country to evaluate whether to close or not, the importance of communication has never been greater. As school districts are furiously looking towards distance learning as a way to combat the continuation of education despite not physically being able to go to school, the social media channels are flooded with information….in a good way….here’s why.

Social Media is a Distance Learning Tool…

Again, this is one of the many reasons that I vlog. I value producing information for all audiences that can help them to feel more profoundly connected to any situation that is happening, whether it is a national emergency or merely reporting on the week. Give it a try, make a video, talk about what is going on, and send it out there. You will be surprised at how effective and genuine this communication can be with your stakeholders and help to assure them that you are in this together.

Joe Sanfelippo pots a daily 1-minute walk to work where he quickly reports out in a real genuine way to his stakeholders. This type of communication really models how we should think about the consumption of information in times of crisis.

Changing my Vlog….Temporarily..

So based on all of what is going on, I am changing my VLog in order to keep up with all of the changing information and keep people connected. I can’t promise that my vlog will be super informative and may sometimes be me going through my day, but it will be real, in the moment communication designed to keep you engaged in what is happening.

I cannot tell you how many times in my life I have asked for help. For some reason, we tend to feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness or reveals the infamous “imposter syndrome“….yes…it is a real thing….and by asking for help we feel we really have no clue what we are doing. Honestly, though, do any of us really know what we are doing? As a life-long learner, I ALWAYS want to be learning and never get to the point where I know exactly what I am doing. When we reach the point in our careers or even life for that matter, where we have everything figured out, then it is time for a change. If not, then that will lead to burnout and dissatisfaction. As the Director of Curriculum, Communication, and Innovation, I honestly feel that my role is always changing to meet the ever-changing needs of the educational landscape, which is super exciting because I know that I will never honestly have a full handle on what I am doing…and you know what? That is absolutely OK!

The moment we stop learning is the moment innovation dies. The moment we have it all figured out is when we stop learning. Do you have it all figured out? If so, then it is time to take some risks in your practice. Try something innovative that you would normally not try. For example, for the past three years, I have been producing vlogs as a way to communicate with stakeholders and anyone interested. They have evolved over time, and now I have rested on publishing two per week. Why do I vlog? Well, it is my way of reflecting both professionally and personally. I also truly believe that we must tell our own stories and practice genuine and authentic communication. I have traditionally stuck simply to vlogs, and having done them for three years, I am at the point where I am wanting to take some news risks myself, hence why my vlogs now blend deeper into my personal life.

LASTLY, over a year ago, I started this website after attending a George Courous conference with great ambitions to develop myself as an educational leader. Well, guess what….it has been vacant… legit…no updates for the whole year…even after paying for my super cool personalized domain name. I then revisited one of my all-time FAVORITE books for reinvigorating myself as an educator, The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros. Specifically, I really was brought back to life by the following passage:

“Mindset” is an important part of learning, but are we only open to learning, or are we looking to focus on what we can create with new learning?

-George Couros

So on a whim, feeling a need for some guidance, I reached out to George, and to my surprise, he answered! He was more than willing to help refocus my thoughts and to really think about communication as a form of contribution to those that we lead or work with. So after a super engaging and fun conversation, I decided to pick back up the blog…well, I guess actually start blogging for the first time.

My plan…

Now, I plan to release a blog alongside my vlog every Tuesday and Friday. My goal is to provide the same but different content…if that makes any sense…Meaning if you watch the vlog, it will be connected to the blog…but if you read the blog…it will go deeper into the topics. So feel free to subscribe to the website and get the blog & vlog as soon as it is released, twice per week and remember, it is OK to ask for help because you never know who might answer 🙂

back to work!

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