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Posts Tagged ‘Dave Eberwein’

The Culture of Yes turns 10 this month. 364 posts later, and here we are.

Starting this blog seemed like a natural fit.   In an earlier time I had been a newspaper columnist so was pretty familiar with organizing thoughts into 550 words at a time.   And in 2010 I was just officially starting as Superintendent so I was looking to differentiate myself and find a way to have a voice in a way that was authentic and made sense for me.  At the time I had a blogroll that was inspiring.  I would read Dean Shareski, or Will Richardson, or David Warlick and be excited.  The world of web 2.0 was booming and each post I read was opening me up to new ideas and a new world I was trying to understand.

The world of education blogs has really felt like it has had a boom and bust era.  My 2010 entry was just before the boom.  We had a community in BC of edu-bloggers including Chris Wejr, Elisa Carlson, Cale Birks, Dave Truss, Brian Kuhn and others.  It was just as the way we get education news was shifting.  Blogs were opening up classrooms, schools and districts to the community.  It was interesting to see what was being written in local blogs driving conversations in school and in the media.  What I saw in a blog post Monday, I would read in a Janet Steffenhagen story on Thursday in the Vancouver Sun.  The modern network was truly coming alive.  I also loved how blogging came alive in our schools.  We still have a number of staff blogging – including Cari Wilson who is still so great at posting every week!

And yet within 4 or 5 years the internet was littered with well intentioned but discarded educational blogs.   It is not as bad as it sounds.  Like with any trend or fad you get this huge growth, and then some people decided it wasn’t for them, and moved on.  We began to consume more through social media – twitter posts were far easier than 500 word blog posts. And as I wrote, the comments really slowed down (ironically that post about the lack of commenting has 86 comments). And the comments that came were not on the post but on Facebook or Twitter.  The conversation actually happened in multiple places which was not really a good thing – I would often think of a conversation of a post on Twitter, that these people should meet the people talking about it on Facebook, they would really learn from each other.  That said, my thanks to the close to 4,000 comments that have been shared directly on the site – they have challenged me, taught me and encouraged me.  I looked back at my first post – thanks to Brian Kuhn for being the first person to leave a comment.

In my first post I wrote:

It is an exciting time in education.  I feel like we are in the middle of a dramatic shift in what “school” looks like.  We will look back on this time as a pivotal point of change.  I look forward to sharing ideas, and connecting with those inside and outside our system as we work our way through it. 

And it was an exciting time, and is an exciting time in education.  This blog has really been career defining for me.  I love to look back at what I used to think and write about, how I believe some things more strongly now than when I wrote them and on other topics my views have changed – that is what is great about learning in public – I can share this.  And if nobody else even reads it, the act of writing down ideas and taking a position has been exceptionally powerful for me.

When I was asked to describe my blog goal, I have said, I know I am not the New York Times or Wall Street Journal of education blogs.  I am more USA Today.  And while we need the more formal writers, we also need those who are trying to be accessible to those not in education.   I have tried to be a serious thinker who doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Today, I love following other superintendent bloggers.  In BC I read everything that Dave Eberwein, Kevin Godden and Jordan Tinney write.  I just wish more of my colleagues would blog.  As my regular readers know, my doctoral research is around the role of the superintendency and I am fascinated by the role and the work.   I also really appreciate how supportive Jay Goldman and the AASA (School Superintendent’s Association) has been to regularly highlight superintendent blogs in their magazine and to take several of my pieces and work with me to convert them into magazine columns and articles. 

As to my posts – if I want to chase clicks, I find if I write about parenting and sports those fuel interest.  I really enjoy writing about both topics so it is fun to stir debate around them.  They are actually the easier posts to write.    My most-read post to date comes from November of 2010 on Stuart Shanker and Self-Regulation.  I have written about Stuart’s work a number of times, and it is an example of thinking that has really changed my view of education in the last decade.  More personally, my post Teacher during the 2014 teacher’s strike about my dad really sticks with me.  

And yes, every-time I still hit publish I feel anxiety.  I think my high school English teacher is out they’re noticing grammar errors (that was intentional).  And I worry (it has only happened a handful of times) someone will splice a  part of my text and re-post it social media to try to embarrass me or make a political point.  But my blog has changed me.   It has opened doors for me for work, it has introduced me to many new people and given me a platform to share.  Most importantly, it has given me voice and confidence.   I am still a proponent of having everyone write for the world, as we all have stories to tell and we want our children to feel this comfort from a young age.

So, to all who have read and engaged with me over the last 10 years – thank you.   Hopefully I have helped assure you that superintendents are actually human being and not just “those guys” in the board office.  I love our community and my head is full of ideas I want to write and think through with you in this space in the months and years ahead.

I look forward to the next 10!

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