I can remember my first camera. It was a Kodak and it came with a disk of film to fit inside. It was amazing because it could take 36 pictures!!! Of course, you had to bring it to the local drug store to get the pictures developed and that cost money, and time, so it would take me a month to take all the pictures and then a few more months to remember to get them developed. By the time I actually looked at the pictures, I wouldn’t even remember what some of them were of. The hassel of getting the pictures developed meant that I rarely used the camera, except on special occasions or when I opened the drawer it was in and remembered to use it.
I was talking with my Principal about how to build our school’s brand. We both agreed that pictures tell more of the story than Tweets and Facebook posts can. There are amazing things happening every day in our school, and yet we don’t document them. Why? If something happens to us, why are we not sharing that with everyone? So I went to teachers and students to find out why.
Teachers: Actually, no matter who I talked to, it boiled down to the same answer. For the most part, teachers come from a generation that didn’t have immediate access to cameras so our first response is not to pull out the phone to take a picture. Most of the teachers I talked to said that they just don’t think about it until it’s too late.
Students: This one is more disturbing to me. The students I talked to said that they don’t want other people to think they are arrogant. One student (who recently signed a letter of intent to play sports in college) said that he doesn’t talk about his accomplishments because he doesn’t want people to think he is too full of himself. Another, who mentioned to me right before the discussion that he had just received his first letter of acceptance to a university, said that the only other person he told about the letter was his mother and that was via text. He didn’t even tell his closest friends! He didn’t want to make his friends feel bad that he got into a college and they hadn’t yet.
So how do we move forward from here? One group thinks it’s a great idea to talk about your accomplishments, but doesn’t remember to. The other one is too concerned about the opinions of their peers so they only snap pictures of mundane things in their life.
It’s time for a shift in mindset. I am not saying that we need to take hundreds of pictures a day, but we do need to start sharing more. We need to remember that education is now a global community. There are amazing teachers, doing amazing things, all over the world. How are we supposed to grow as educators if we do not share these ideas?
What’s the first thing you learned in Kindergarten? To share. That message needs to apply for not only our toys, but also our great ideas.