Thursday, March 4, 2010

Leading Others Down the Right Path

path In Ready For A Walk? from Tech Thoughts By Jen by JenW , she writes,

“A few days ago, while chatting with my friend, Ryan Bretag (, I was questioning him on how he was able to persuade his teachers, his staff, his co-workers to follow him. I wanted to know….I needed to know… he was leading.

His response stopped me in my tracks.

they aren’t walking with me. I’m walking with them & they were walking before me. I just bring a diff perspective 4 that journey
9:12 PM Feb 26th via web in reply to jenwagner


This was an “aha” moment for me too!

I don’t always have to lead in order to learn.

The thought of leading scares me. What if I lead and people actually follow? What if I take the wrong path and lead people down a road to nowhere? What if the path I’m taking is actually the wrong path?

I think that is why I read so many blogs and interact on social networks. I think these connections and interactions actually help me find my way. Maybe all of us are trying to find our way together?

By discussing topics and sharing opinions, the surroundings get less fuzzy and get more in focus. The more I interact with others (not necessarily agreeing but bouncing thoughts around), the clearer things get for me. As I learn to leave comments, it gets easier for me (and maybe some of the authors would rather I go away). Yet it feels almost liberating to be part of the conversation. It starts to actually feel good and not so scary.

Then I realize that maybe we can go down the path together. And if it is the wrong path, it is alright to turn around. It is alright to talk together some more to arrive at a different conclusion.

This is why it is so important to comment on blogs I read. This is why I try to interact with people on Plurk, Twitter, and Facebook. I used to lurk but when I lurked, I wasn’t moving. It was like standing in the path and watching the people pass me by. The more I interact, the more I’m moving. Moving is much better than standing still. I can’t learn anything by standing still.

This is also an important skill for students to learn in my classroom.

How many students have looked down when I call on someone to answer? Which student is the one that always declines to answer? Who doesn’t want to offer any input in the discussion? These are the students who are standing still. They aren’t moving forwards or backwards. If they don’t move, they can't achieve any success. Movement, whether forward or back, will be a learning experience. This is the only way anyone can be successful in school and out.

Now I ask you, do you leave comments? Do you interact with other educators? Or are you just standing still? Now is the time to make an effort to move. Even if you don’t leave a comment on this post, I challenge you to read other blogs out there and find one that you can comment on. Don’t be stagnant. Take a chance and make a move!

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Magic Path' by: Cindy Seigle


Jennifer said...

I am not one to usually make comments on the posts that I read. I am very much a lurker. I don't feel that I am not moving, but I am not getting as much out of the experience by being a lurker. Your thoughts have inspired me to give it(not being a lurker!) a shot!

loonyhiker said...

@Jennifer I appreciate you leaving a comment here. Maybe you will leave a comment somewhere that opens up a conversation. Thanks!

Heidi Pence said...

My 2 cents for what it is worth. When you lead at anything you are opening yourself up to being vulnerable and/or wrong which is why I think so many people don't want to take the "lead" on something. It takes a person that is above others and what they think of them to be a real leader.
If one wants to keep learning this is entirely a different scenario. Others opinions of you are much higher and then you can feel better about yourself.
When you are wrong about something, it takes a strong sense of self to admit this. Being vulnerable is hard. Being a student of anything takes risk.