Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Which Are You? Transmitter or Transformer? Light or Dark?

I just returned from the Iowa Technology and Education Connection Conference in Coralville, IA (ITEC10)! I honestly have so many thoughts in my head that I am going to need a bigger head, but I wanted to share the biggest epiphany I had on the way home.

This probably started in earlier blog posts, but I feel such a strong connection to this material. While watching a keynote by Vicki Davis (of Cool Cat Teacher Blog fame), I was struck by the concept she shared from Zig Ziglar about transmitters and transformers. Transmitters are people who transmit out negative thoughts and feelings. Transformers are people who transform the negative things in life and share them positively. Wow....great thought.

Then, before I left Coralville, I glanced at Facebook and saw this message posted by someone I consider a prophet, Patti Digh, which I assumed she quoted a friend:

‎"Tonight I'll be celebrating for all of the Chilean miners and their families, and for
everyone who has had a long, dark stuck period in their life--only to
be pulled to the surface at the last minute." -Amy McCracken

So, with thoughts swirling, I started home. On the way, I snapped the above picture with my Blackberry...and I thought of all the rays of light in my life....and let me tell you, there are a lot. I have a beautiful and loving wife, PR, great students, great former students, great friends, Fable friends, just to mention a few. I have some superstar lights like Peter H. Reynolds and Peggy Healy Stearns, who literally "pulled [me] to the surface at the last minute" (in terms of educational perspective). 

Then, the thought that almost made me pull to the side of the road, "so, which are you, the dark clouds or the rays of streaming light?" The answer was a bit startling. I am both and it depends on the people I am around. . . I very much want to be the ray of light...but sometimes slip into the transmitter. To most kids, I pray I am a ray of light. My focus in life is kids, and I deeply want to be that. I want kids in my classroom to look back on our time together and realize my hope was to raise them up....to help them shine.

Here is a thought, write it down. Blog it. Do whatever it takes to get yourself on track. A funny thing happened when I started blogging. One of the things I would like to leave this earth being known for is the thought that I tried to see the KID and not just their behavior. Last year I had the absolute most trying kid I had ever had in 24 years. I wanted to run screaming from the room at times because the kids behavior was SO far out of the norm, no teacher should be expected to deal with that. Then, just as I was about to absolutely come unglued at the kid, I thought to myself, "Hey, Mr. See-the-kid-and-not-just-behavior, how hypocritical are you going to get today?" Then, I would reach down deeper and try to find MORE compassion. There was obviously something going on in that kid that I couldn't 'fix' but I KNEW yelling at him wasn't going to be a tool to aid the repair. 

Ways to be the light:
  • Surround yourself with good people who shed light
  • Find ways to deal positively with a negative situation
  • Have zero time for people who aren't looking for something positive
  • LOVE the people in your life who build you up and make you strong...and for crying out loud, tell them you love them (it shouldn't be a mystery)
  • If you are down in a dark place, tunnel out, don't just hang out down there...find people (PLN) to help you build a tunnel.
  • You have as much potential for light as you do darkness (and probably more) . . . BE the light

So, which are you..... The dark rain cloud, or the light?