This is an email that I got from my Brother-in-Law.
The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?” To stress his point he said to another guest; “You’re a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?” Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, “You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began…) “Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can’t make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental. You want to know what I make? (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table) I make kids wonder. I make them question. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them to write and then I make them write.. Keyboarding isn’t everything. I make them read, read, read. I make them show all their work in math. They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator. I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about English while preserving their unique cultural identity. I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe. Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life. (Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.) Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant. You want to know what I make? I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make Mr. CEO? His jaw dropped, he went silent. THIS IS WORTH SENDING TO EVERY TEACHER, EVERY CEO, EVERY PERSON YOU KNOW. Even all your personal teachers like mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, coaches and your spiritual leaders/teachers. A truly profound answer!!!
Teaching is…the profession that makes all other professions possible!
Should we present our authentic self or should we hide behind our “avatars” in social media and network spaces?
That is a challenging one, especially for many networkers who are representing themselves as avatars, in the immersive learning environment like SecondLife, or as bloggers, visitors to blogs, or as educators in the web etc.
Are you interested in posting your comments with payment only? Here it is. Why paying? Some medias are trying to see if such pay for comments service would influence the way readers would voice their views, and prevent or reduce spams and inflammatory comments be included in the discussion forum.
Why would one need to use avatar(s) to represent themselves in social media or networked learning?This could be a challenging and private question, isn’t it?
Ken has got good points here in his response comment: “Another reason was professional; sometimes it is difficult to offer opinions that might be construed to run against the grain of the organization that one is employed by, and I was overly-cautious about this and hiding behind anonymity made me feel better. Now I don’t worry so much about these things, so anonymity has helped my growth in this area.” That’s a concern not only for professionals, but educators, students as they may still have a long journey in their career paths, and don’t want their private and professional views be “mixed” and be exposed to their employer or potential employer for scrutiny. This is both a rational and wise decision. Most of us would still need to have a “bright future”, but would like to establish our unique voice in the media, and may worry about how we present ourselves now may impact on our future career, study or learning with others. This also explains why some educators or “networkers” would prefer to be the “visitors” (masked with fake name or an avatar) leaving with little or no trace in the digital and social media. This is a personal choice…
Ken continues: “We all wear different masks for different social settings.” However, whether at work or in a personal setting, would this create a dilemma in ones persona, especially in the digital, social and virtual media? Are our digital persona reflective of our authentic self? Why would we need to disclose ourselves in open space where we could easily be “exploited” by others? How would we be able to “protect ourselves” without being accused of being untrue to what we say or do? Can we undo some of the voices we raised in the digital, social or virtual space? Would avatar save us? Would this be the reason why many educators are not willing to have their social media presence? The reason for not having their own blogs, or their own voices heard….
For me, as a Catholic, I have nothing to fear, as mentioned in my previous blog post. I have nothing to hide, nothing that prevents me from expressing my true voices, and sayings… May be I am lucky, or may be I am overly confident. Am I wearing my own mask? No! I am looking for a better future, in everything, by contributing, participating and engaging with social media and networks with my true self.
Here is my previous post on social media and its impact on organisation.
Photo: Flickr Trust me
How about your digital footprint?
In social media, it’s data about us..
How unique are our avatars?
How have we represented in avatars? What are your purposes of using an avatar? Does it allow you to voice your authentic self in those spaces? Are avatars real? Can we fully express ourselves with avatars – including your voices and emotions, feelings?
Is it also an important literacy for us – to learn how to identify an avatar that one would use to represent the persona, and understand what’s behind an avatar? Without avatars, or made up names, I wonder how many networkers would like to leave their digital persona or traces on the web. Or may be most educators won’t be deterred to present their true self. What do you think?
Postscript: Enjoy this Welcome to Web 3.0. Comments?