A few days ago, I gave a keynote presentation about why we need to move from a rock star mindset to a jam session mindset. I had no business giving a keynote; I'll admit that. However, if I had the stage, I wanted to advocate for a few things that I truly believed: that the only way to "fix" education is with a humble revolution, that we need more honest stories and that vulnerability draws people closer to me.
At one point, I said, "We are wired for stories." Then I stopped.
"Um, no. Actually, we aren't wired. We're designed for stories." I then bumbled around the "right" terminology, knowing deep within that "designed" was the word I truly believed.
I openly admit that I stole every idea of that keynote. The good news is that the source is totally within the public domain. However, I essentially shared something so philosophical that it bordered on spiritual.
Love. Humility. Grace. Truth.
I can't escape the fact that these are the ideas that have saved me from burning out as a teacher. These are the concepts that drive what I do. And though I try and communicate respectfully, I admit that the secular veneer is often thinner than it needs to be for some audiences.
I'm struck by the fact that the biggest things I believe about education are not practical, theoretical or even pedagogical. They're more spiritual than anything else: the notion of kids as both amazing and broken, the idea of humility as the best method of leadership, the notion of learning as a holistic process; being progressive and hopeful and yet respecting the voices of the past.
I always feel, when I talk about it with a group, that I am grappling with how to take what I really believe and translate it into purely secular terminology and on some level, I'm recognizing that I can't. Love, humility, grace, truth: these are the deepest things I believe about education.
I hope I was respectful, authentic and engaging as a keynote speaker. But if anyone thinks there's anything innovative about the ideas I brought up, it's simply not true. The ideas are timeless and they're not mine at all.