My principal was showing a fellow PLN member from another state around our school at the request of the High School principal of our district. This teacher is relocating to our area and the High School principal thought it would be a great idea to introduce him to the faculty of our district.
Once it was explained to my principal how we all knew each other via our PLN on Twitter, she got interested. A conversation began in the hallway outside of my classroom and (I'm assuming) continued as the three of them continued on with the tour.
I went home and later that day and saw that my principal was now following me on Twitter. I saw her the next day and congratulated her for jumping in and creating an account -- for taking the first step.
"I don't know what I'm doing yet, but I got caught up in the energy of it all," she explained to me.
I relayed to her that I still didn't know what I was doing yet but that there are so many people to help you and that learning is fast and fun.
My point here is to get the conversation started. Get people excited. And if you are speaking to people who aren't excited about joining the PLN, talk to someone else who DOES get excited. We need to strike the nerves of those who will listen instead of trying to convince those who refuse to listen. It becomes a waste of time and energy to speak to those who are not open to the idea of social media. HOWEVER, if you notice even the slightest interest or curiosity in someone, it's important to help them. That's how the fire spreads -- by fanning the small flames.
I truly feel that our job is to NOT to change the thinking of others but to remain true to our own beliefs. We have no power over what others want to believe. It is their personal choice. As Tom Whitby stated in a recent post, there are people who are just as passionate about not reforming the system as we are passionate about making change. It’s useless to get caught up in a debate with those who will not listen. Nothing you say or do will change their mindset.
I'm not saying to not speak. It's important to start conversations which will build better learning for our kids. I'm merely asking if we are continuing the conversation with the right people. The mavens. The ones who are going to effect change.
When you are speaking with someone, you can tell if they are completely shut down. Walk away. Continue to lead by example and maybe they will come around ... maybe not. Either way it is fine, because you are still effecting change in your own way.
My personal belief is that it’s more important to put all of your energy toward what you are "for" instead of focusing your energy toward what you are "against." You are going to create more of whatever you focus your energy toward. Why put your energy toward resistant thought? It only creates more resistant thought.
Don't you feel that it's more important to speak to those who will listen and give them the support they need instead of fighting or arguing with those who choose not to listen? Do you feel it's wiser to use your time and energy on those who are ready to hear you and support them when they are ready to act?