Slipping Away

“Anything can turn into a blog post” – Jon Harper @jonharper70bd

I was fortunate to be a presenter at the Evolving Educators: Tomorrow’s Classrooms Today conference in Philadelphia yesterday (6/26/15). I talked about chrombebooks and google chrome to a group of exciting educators. The method I used for choosing which session to attend before mine was this: Find the room where you’ll be presenting and go there!

I got to sit in on a session on why educators should blog, by Jon Harper. Toward the end of the session he asked for “brave volunteers” to email him a picture from our phones that was important to us. I sent this one.


That’s my not quite two year old daughter at the far end of the swings. Jon then asked why it was important to me and after I explained, asked me to connect it to education somehow. This is a great approach to blogging. Taking everyday moments and truly reflecting on our practice through them. Here’s why it’s important to me, and the connection.

  I took this picture because I like taking pictures. I like finding interesting ways to capture moments. It didn’t really reach the point of “significant” to me until I showed it to my wife and she almost teared up. You see, I took a picture. She saw her youngest of 4, slipping away. She saw time itself, attached to the back of our child, pulling what mattered most to her gently through life. We both then felt the significance of the photo. The length of the swingsets in front of us, almost completely passed through by our youngest, swings resting still. I suppose parents see many moments this way.

  So how does this tie to education? To many teachers, the concept of school, teaching, students, and career is their baby. It’s the one thing they’ve focused so much of their time and effort on. And in many places, policy, standards, testing, change, instability and fear threaten to let their baby slip away. But as a parent, I knew that no matter how far our daughter went or will go, we are always deeply connected to her through our heartstrings and love. Teachers have that same deep connection through their passion to the ideology of education. They may feel like it’s slipping away, but it’s not. Some may need to tug a bit, others to call out gently, and still others to run and grab their passion again, but it will never be detached enough to truly be gone.

  This came from a picture I like. I drove two and a half hours that afternoon to get back home and see my family. I guess I could have said, “well, I’m here in Philly now, so I might as well make the best of it.” But that wouldn’t have made any sense. So I drove over 100 miles to what did make sense.

  Teachers, don’t say “well, I guess education is different now, I might as well make the best of it.” Think about what the best of it means, what your passion means, and what you’re connected deeply to, and go to it, no matter how far.


    1. I shared this with my parents, 2 lifelong educators and parents to 4, me being #3. Retired for nearly 30 years, it is education and their commitment to its ideals that pulls their heartstrings. Yes they are blessed with 9 grandchildren, who bring them joy. However, the development of young people to face the challenges of life is what engages my parents and the power of student voice and thought keeps them young, vital, and motivated. Thank you Denis for reminding me of the great humanity that teachers embody.

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