Mamacita says: Whatever you do for a living, and particularly if you work in education, I think it is of vital importance that you try to keep up with what’s going on in that area. I work in education and social media, and I go to every conference I can afford, and even some I can’t afford. The best ones, of course, are those you’re sent to by your school or business, but I go to everything affordable that has anything to do with me.
It’s rare that any piece of knowledge you pick up pertains only to one aspect of your life. I went to WordCamp Chicago to hone my mad social media and computer skillz, but I also learned a great deal that I can take back to my college students and use, as well.
There’s no such thing as knowing enough. Nobody will ever know enough about anything. No matter how much we know, or think we know, there is always more to learn. It doesn’t matter what the topic is; there’s always more to learn.
At WordCamp Chicago this weekend, I learned so much my head is spinning. This is good. As my head is spinning – EXORCIST – I am extracting tidbits of coolness from it like water from lettuce in a salad spinner. And once I soak up all the water, I’ll start in on the lettuce. When the lettuce has been absorbed, I’ll go to another conference and start again.
Nobody ever knows enough about anything.
And I shall add: those who think they know enough had better be careful.
Businesses have clients and customers, and schools have students. Clients, customers, and students know an awful lot, and if the time comes when they know more than we do. . . . well, we’ve succeeded, actually. They won’t need us any more. And then, we go to another conference or take a class and catch up and then we’ll be needed again and it starts all over again.
I’ve heard teachers say that certain students or whole classes made them nervous or even annoyed them because the kids knew more than the teacher. Whose fault is this, I might ask. A teacher who doesn’t continue to learn, year after year, for the entirety of his/her career, is not an educator. He/she is only a lecturer, and probably a boring one that the kids could run rings around. I know teachers who’ve used the exact same lesson plans for over thirty years. I’ve worked with people who refused to learn even how to access their email. I have had colleagues who hated it when there was a really bright kid who already knew every minute detail of the textbooks, tests, and topics in a class. I’ve known teachers who resented it when a child asked a question the teacher couldn’t answer. As for me, I LOVE it when my students have questions I can’t answer. It means we all go nuts figuring that answer out, together. Cool! Get to the lab, people and activate your schema!
When your customers/clients/students are able to run rings around you, and you permit it, and you don’t do anything to make yourself more knowledgeable, you’re not going to be good at whatever it is you do. You won’t even be passable. I don’t want you teaching my children, and I wouldn’t trust you to be competent at running a business. Frankly, I don’t even want you dressing my cheeseburger.
If your business is kids and you don’t know what they’re reading or listening to or playing, what excuse do you have? You have no excuse. I don’t mean that you have to be one of them, because we’ve all seen THOSE pathetic souls, age 54, in Miley Cyrus jeans, Tinkerbell t-shirt, and pink-tipped hair. I mean, if you’re going to be able to communicate with your clientele in any kind of place, YOU have to learn some new tricks, old dawg.
In fact, I personally think that if your business is kids, you not only need to know what they’re reading, you need to read it, too. How can your excited students talk to you about the Black Family Tree permanently stuck to the wall, with some of the faces burned away, and why, if you don’t know what that is? And frankly, if you teach and you DON’T know what that is, shame on you. You’re not keeping up.
Keep up. Never, ever, ever stop keeping up.
When you stop keeping up, ie when you stop learning, call the mortuary and have them drive over to pick up your useless self. You’re certainly not making viable use of yourself any more, nor any part of yourself. Even if you’re working out three times a week, if you’re not learning anything, you’re not using your brain, and once you stop using your brain, you’re dead. Worse than dead, really, because you’re not doing your fair share of thinking, participating, and contributing, but you’re still using up oxygen, resources, and space on the planet.
Harsh? Not really. In this economy or any other kind of economy, what school or business can afford to keep dead weight? And why should they bother? Dead weight brings everybody down, and nobody has the right to do that to other people.
Get rid of the dead weight in our schools and replace it with learners. Learners on both sides of the desk. A teacher who doesn’t continually educate himself/herself throughout a lifetime? Not possible. I mean, not if that person is a REAL teacher.
No matter what line you’re in, make sure you are a lifelong learner. Keep up. Ponder. Suppose. Infer. Make connections. Rejoice in learning as many new things as you can, every moment you’re lucky enough to be alive.
Never. Stop. Learning. And never stop loving learning. And if you do decide you’ve learned enough and you’ve earned the right to stop learning and just sit around watching tv and yelling at the weatherman and the referee and drinking beer and feeling great that you don’t have to learn anything else ever again, please, for the love of all that is holy, keep away from my children. And everybody else’s children, too. You’re toxic, and I don’t want your poison to infect or infest anyone else, least of all an innocent child.
Learn things. And when you’ve learned those things, learn other things. Etc, etc, and so on in patternlike fancy.
And while you’re at it, learn to use and understand proper context. I mean, holy scheisse on a stick, there are some really ignorant cusses out there. Let’s eliminate them all with education.