Recently, I was turned down to speak at an educational event because the sponsors were looking for someone who had a little more influence than myself. They said they enjoyed some of my tweets and blog posts, but needed a little more traction at this particular event…a headliner so to speak.
Does having more Twitter followers make someone a more qualified educator than me? I go to conference after conference, leaving disappointed that speakers with a gajillion followers were sharing what I already do as a specialist or did as a teacher. They’re telling my story on their stage.
My life is filled with non-stop superhero action. I preface it that way because whenever I do present, drop the bow tie and don a super hero t-shirt because I feel that is what is required of me sometimes to make a difference. By day I’m delivering bonafide PD to empower teachers to conquer any obstacle in their digital learning environments while battling the arch nemesis Student Filtering and The Mastermind who created the No Cell Phones in Class signs. My superpower skills are put the test as I attempt deliver the masses from skills that teach to the test and teach to the tool. Instead, I equip them with super utility belts that help teach to the child through relationships that help teachers meet there students where they are. By night, I fight off the Evil “I’m Too Tired” Villain in order to delivery joy to my 4 kiddos who in turn serve as my power-ups that maintain my super strength.
I don’t have time for much of anything else. Fighting the crimes of bad education and bad examples of fatherhood is what I do and pretty much who I am. So, I miss participating in all the Twitter and Voxer chats, EdCamps and other opportunities to grow my Super PLN. Therefore, I don’t see the public spotlight and I’m perfectly fine with that. I have said this thousands of time, I would rather be a superstar in my own kids eyes than on Social Media any day. So if you want to see my influence, ask the thousands of kids whose lives I’ve impacted instead of seeing how many followers I have and comparing me with someone else. Being concerned with followers is like kryptonite. Instead I dwell on the letters I get from former students that thank me for helping them fall in love with words so much that it helped them land an internship with the New York Times. Or on a former student who asked at his wedding if I would sit where his parents would have sat at if they were still living. Or when a mother brings me a cake because her she didn’t feel her English was good enough to express how much she appreciated me helping her son graduate from High School. That’s how I want to be judged and many other educators alike. If people are not willing to be a fly on the walls of some of these super teacher’s classrooms, then conferences are truly missing out on the greatness of those who are in the mist of the true educational battle.