Wednesday, December 01, 2010

You were Just a 'Fill in the Blank' and I Made You Everything that You are

"When I met you, you were just a teacher, and I made you everything you are" is what SHE told me the other day when I was discussing with her different plans for my business and professional future.

No, I was not just a teacher. I was, am, and always will be a part of the highly creative, diverse virtual and physical world culture and hive mind.

"Just a teacher" fits quite well with governments' increasing of classroom size, laying off teachers, and allocating more money to war and less to education.

When I was just a teacher, I was no one special, but I did accomplish a lot:
1. English Teacher of the Year
2. Applied for and received millions of dollars in grant money for Escambia County schools
3. Networked with teachers and other educational personnel all over the world via America Online Chat, IRC channels, and bulletin boards.
4. Was the first teacher in Escambia County to use the Internet in my classroom instruction in 1994 ... I brought my own Tandy computer into the classrom, used my FIRN online access, and bought a phone line with grant money to dial up to.
5. In the 17 years I taught English, Civics, American History, Introduction to Foreign Languages, Gifted Studies, and Power Puff Mechanics.
6. I held the position of Media Specialist in addition to being a teacher the last two years.
7. Led the collaboration of middle school children in the school yearbook, newspaper, website, chess team, foreign language club, morning TV classroom news, and electronic pal program.
8. Led children at Carver Middle School in an extremely economically deprived region of Escambia County, Florida to be second among 13 middle schools on the Florida Writes! annual state writing test.
9. Was soon after scheduled to conduct dozens of workshops and presentations to share best practices to help other teachers make the same thing happen.
10. Helped the school to get three international partners in education. Bla, bla, bla.

And I was "just a teacher." I meet some of my students even now. One is a midwife, another a submarine specialist in the Marines, another is the mother of children and has the cleanest house I have ever seen in my life, another is a runner like me, another married a Japanese girl who his first words to her were "Minna De Utaeba Tanoshiku Narune" that he learned in my class ("The More We Get Together, the Happier We'll be"), another robbed a bank in a dress and heels ...

I've always enjoyed using my skills, my upbringing, my work ethic, my eye for how to truly network in a natural way, and my ability to recognize other people's talents, ideas, and work that need sharing. Always been like this in past and current careers of physical fitness centers, writing and telecommunications.

Two books I recommend regarding, for example, the collaboration of many to make anything happen, i.e., innovation and invention, and that no one person can really take credit: Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson and What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly.

Wired magazine says, "Say the word “inventor” and most people think of a solitary genius toiling in a basement. But two ambitious new books on the history of innovation—by Steven Johnson and Kevin Kelly, both longtime wired contributors—argue that great discoveries typically spring not from individual minds but from the hive mind.."

Don't let anyone tell you that when they met you, "you were just a ______," and that they made you everything you are. You are who you are because of yourself and the combination of everyone who has ever been in contact with you physically, virtually, or via the ripple effect.

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