One thing that I have learned in the short time that I have been an administrator is that there is always the “next big thing” on the horizon. Educators are always looking for the next program or resource that is going to make a meaningful impact on their students, and on the flip side, there is no shortage of educational consultants who are willing to sell you the program. I’m not sure if it is that I am more skeptical these days or what, but I don’t find myself getting as excited about every new idea I hear about in regards to education. Let me clarify, I’m not trying to imply that I know everything that there is to know about education and that I’m unwilling to listen to new ideas; but rather, I’m trying to say that I am now more leery about the information that I allow to sway my thinking…in other words, I’m no longer quick to believe the hype.
Early in my teaching career I would sit up late at night trolling the internet for all types of teaching resources. I would watch countless videos of all of the new teaching strategies that were sure to yield better outcomes in student engagement. I would treat each one of these videos as a golden nugget of information that I was fortunate enough to stumble across. I would fall in love with everything I found and try to implement all of these new found strategies into my teaching. These days I am more selective. I understand that everyone with a YouTube channel or blog is entitled to an opinion, but that doesn’t mean that each one of those opinions desires my full attention.
So, how do you find trusted information? BUILD A PLN! This is one thing that I neglected to do early on in my teaching career and it cost me a lot of wasted time. I use to think that I could do it all on my own and would fail to lean on my PLN for the proper support. By building a network of trusted professionals that have already crossed the bridges that you are currently trying to cross you can save yourself tons of time.
In closing, don’t believe the hype.