It has been an honor to take the time to read George Couros’ book, The Innovator’s Mindset. The learning has been refreshing while being familiar, challenging while being empowering, and self-reflective while being empathetic. I would recommend it to all staff because of its ability to connect each other and our ideas while placing students at the center of everything we do.
What struck me as I was completing the book was the importance of making yourself visible. It isn’t because you will have all of these followers or likes, but because it provides a platform that forces you to think deeper about your work. As I am writing this, I am constantly reflecting on what I learned as I was reading the book and how I am going to apply it moving forward. George’s description of blogging as a portfolio of your reflective practice and work is incredibly powerful. The power doesn’t come in the actual product, but in the thinking, reflecting, and processing that comes from creating that post, uploading work, and thinking about that lesson or situation. In the work I do I find amazing teachers and students that have stories that could make an impact on others. On page 177, George challenges us with, “What if all teachers Tweeted once a day about something they did in their classrooms and took five minutes to read each other’s Tweets?” That kind of collaborative environment will help everyone, but mostly it will help you because it is a platform to constantly reflect on your practice to improve. It is about small shifts and continuous improvement. As I have said many times, “It is about progression, not perfection.”
Making yourself visible is about having the courage to allow yourself to be vulnerable. This, to me, is the key that is not talked about enough and George models it in the book and in his online presence. He shares his struggles, celebrations, and learning. As I am working with staff and students I am honest when I don’t know something. I troubleshoot alongside the staff and students I serve. That is because I want them to see that I struggle at times too and how I respond when it happens. By being my vulnerable self I have found that relationships are strengthened and people are empowered to work through their own struggles. For me, I get to be my authentic self in all of the work that I do and that is extremely important to me. In the past, I hid my authentic self because I didn’t want to show the kinks in my armor. All it did was confuse and isolate me which was no good for anyone, especially the people I worked with. One of my favorite picture books is The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Prett and Gary Rubinstein because the authors do such an amazing job of showing how allowing yourself to be vulnerable and visible opens up your world to new learning.
If you are looking for your next book to read, look no further. Read George’s book, blog about your thinking as you are reading, and be your vulnerable self. You will never regret it.
Thank you George for inspiring me!