A Teacher For All Seasons
What is a teacher for all seasons?
On a superficial level, a teacher for all seasons is always fresh, authentic and relevant, while on a deeper level it refers to being a teacher of conscience.
My inspiration for this blog post and my recent webinar for the Fall Blog Festival was the original play called A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt. Set in medieval times, during the reign of King Henry VIII, it examines the principles of a social philospher called Thomas More, who went against royal commands and was executed for being true to his own conscience.
First of all, I think it’s amazing to still be inspired by the social philosophy of a medieval thinker in this modern age of social relevance and revolutions; social media, social proof, social psychology….the list goes on.
Secondly, while teachers in the “free” world today may not risk being executed for their values, they may sometime risk the consequences of breaking rules, turning education upsidedown, or having their values undermined by the powers that be. They may have to make decisions that put their jobs on the line.
Teachers are in danger of being forced to ignore or become desensitised to their inner callings, instincts and beliefs. They are in danger of being forced to live beyond conscience.
The actual story of Sir Thomas More’s rebellion against the king is a story of the times they lived in and, therefore, seemingly irrelevant in the 21st century. However, the integrity of A Man For All Seasons has lessons in it for teachers who want to remain strong, inspired and true to themselves against the odds. I’m taking the themes of conscience and resilience from this story and bringing them to bear upon our collective journeys as teacher bloggers, diarists and human beings.
The Relevance Of Journalling:
My recent webinar for the Fall Blog Festival was a rather personalised, humanistic talk about the power of journalling to keep teachers on track; heart and soul. In past festivals I’ve spoken about inspiring talent, multi-media blogging, and building community; but this time I just wanted to be there to share the special significance of blogging in keeping us whole.
The power of blogging is that it keeps teachers in the flow of their working lives while helping them to solve problems, remain true to themselves and even to save time.
The reference to “all seasons” is that, although we as teachers we have rich times & poor times, inspired times & tough times, our work won’t suffer if it remains a lifelong passion. We blog in the best of times and the worst of times, when we are up and when we are down. Ironically, the down times can become the most revealing, powerful and life-changing when one is open to expressing one’s vulnerability on a blog.
Journalling and blogging helps to keep our work passionate, relevant and meaningful.
There are many reasons for this.
1) When we come across obstacles we can get stuck, burnout or lose passion for the job
Spending hours searching for solutions to a problem isn’t very inspiring when it’s just you and your computer. But when you publish your findings and describe your problem-solving process you help other teachers who have the same problems, your problem turns into opportunity, your motivation to overcome the obstacle sets you free, and there is satisfaction on many levels.
2) When we take our work too seriously we lose the creative spark
For example, I write a lot about technology, experiment a lot and like to create educational materials, but if I focused too much on the nut and bolts and didn’t allow myself any form of self-expression, then I’d lose the joy of creativity. I am passionate about eductional technology, which enriches my work, but I also keep my passion alive by keeping open my own windows of self-expression. This sees me through daunting challenges.
Therefore, it’s therapeutic to journal about feelings, ideas and teaching experiences. A great thing about this is that it reaches teachers in your network emotionally, it triggers connectivity and it’s a profound humanistic experience.
3) Holding webinars to speak to teachers live online can turn our blogs into vlogs
The blogs touch the hearts of our networks and the webinars bring the networks to life. When we manage to solve problems and blog about these problems and solutions, the results are often the makings of an online course that can inspire many people around the world. In true, humanistic fashion, the line between work and personhood becomes blurred, because work helps you grow as a person and your own personal challenges put more soul and spirit into your work.
4) Teacher of all seasons remain relevant and inspiring
We can combine blog work with online classes. The combined media of blog and webinar keep one’s work diverse, challenging and fresh. Interacting with networks is a great way to get continuous feedback and experience the ”flow” of creativity that takes us from one season the next. We grow with our blog journals and accompanying professional topics and webinars.
5) Challenges push you beyond yourself if you are open to sharing.
A new academy and online webinar series I’m planning was inspired by my passion for educational technology combined with my passion for humanism. This combination keeps my inspiration alive because work must be meaningful to make a difference. While I love to write, my networks and virtual classroom give me the platform to share and grow in the process. More and more people are sharing their time, heart and inspirations through the magic of journalling and broadcasting. This is power, through good times and bad times.