Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bag of Hot Air

There are a lot of very busy people throughout my professional learning network and other incredible professional learning networks that intersect with people that I know from learning together, laughing together, and working together. Busy they are trying to make sure that the ideas in which they are passionate are shared, practiced, and spread. It creates a fire hose of reading that is pure pleasure for me as I know that there are allies of action and philosophy around the world. I'm super excited to meet many more of these thought leaders and awesome educators on my first pilgrimage to Educon in Philadelphia later this month. Over the past few years, it seems like these incredible groups of people are growing more coherent with their language, rationale and ideas for a new journey for public schools around the world. There are still many points of conversation and difference which is helpful for our overall growth, but the umbrella of beliefs is growing clear. This creates a tipping point for me and all of those that spend time saying really important things about education. It is time to act, act really big. It is time to surround students, teachers, and leaders that are trying to do things the right way with more than just praise and words. These places need our expertise and personalized professional development from the experts throughout our PLN. They need space to make mistakes, and that means our voices pushing back their doubters in local newspapers and boards of education. They need mentors and resources. They need our time, talent, and treasure. They need our sustainable presence. Our professional learning network is the most intelligent team on paper ever, but words crave actions in a bigger way. What if there were 10 schools around the country that we decided to surround with our collective wisdom? What if we showed that our ideas could work and could scale? This could be the next phase of our grassroots work to build the right public schools in this country. I worry at times that we are a bag of hot air when it comes to big change. Sure there is a little change, and each little change matters, but there is a lot of talk about big change and being a part of whatever that looks like, but the time has come. Will the actions follow? Are we too busy to realize our big dreams?


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It's been an engaging conversation brought on from these posts, to say the least.

    The title of your post made me think of an e-mail I received just as winter break began from one of the teachers I work with: "The children launched their student-made hot air balloons. It was amazing! I thought you might appreciate." This picture was attached: https://twitter.com/tborash/status/418065183706058752/photo/1

    This balloon is literally a "bag of hot air", and yet it represents so much more. (And to boot, the children's excitement & energy as they watch their creation soar above their heads is priceless.)

    What your post makes me wonder: What is it that captures this "hot air" and transforms the "bag" to a "balloon"? What transforms the "energy lost to heat" to "energy used to lift"? And as that balloon is created, what do we attach it to such that it "lifts" us all?

    Thanks for inspiring this idea- looking forward to putting it into practice with you over the days and months to come!

  2. So...let's SHIP IT. I'm ready. Been ready. Been shipping. The children should not have to wait on us.

  3. Thanks for this post! This type of thinking is the norm for the group I choose to surround myself--and I think it helps fuel my fire. I guess I search for the "bright spots" and work to keep the ball rolling in the right direction. There are so many of us that believe in this, and we are positively making both big and small steps to ship these ideas at #MVPSchool. The collective piece is critical, though; you're right. This part of your post strikes me as possible and exciting: "What if there were 10 schools around the country that we decided to surround with our collective wisdom? What if we showed that our ideas could work and could scale?" I'm on board...