Thank you, Steve Knight.
Steve is a long time Chemistry teacher at Winthrop High School in Winthrop, ME. I worked for Winthrop High School from 2004-2009, and in that time I grew as an educator tremendously. One afternoon in 2006 (I think), Steve and I, who were collaborating as co-chairs of the NEASC accreditation process, were discussing our plans for the accreditation process, when Steve asked me, "Do you watch TED?"
"Ted who... Danson?" (I don't remember if I actually said this, but given my snarky nature and SUPERB wit (can't you tell?), I can totally see me actually saying this)
"No," said Steve, "TED.com. Every day during lunch, I need to get my TED fix. You should check it out."
TED.com changed my world. For the better. And I eternally owe it to Steve for showing me that door.
I'm not saying anything new, here. TED.com has been around for a long time, and has been referenced millions of times by educators. I know this. But everyone gets inspired. And everyone has their "go-to's" for inspiration.
I am in the middle of leading some massive paradigm changes in our school district (AOS #94):
... to name a few.
Many of the changes are slow to take hold. All of them come with a fight. The fights come from all sides, depending on the situation: students, parents, teachers, administrators, board members. These fights, though, are worth fighting, because the systems we are changing are in desperate need of updating and alignment. I am continually optimistic and idealistic that these changes will happen, given focus, drive, and consistent leadership.
So, what keeps me idealistic? What drives that optimism?
Coffee and comedy help. But so does TED.com.
When I get to the point that I feel like I'm losing hope in these changes actually happening (and this happens to me regularly), I purposefully go to get my dose of TED.com... a source of inspiration that Steve Knight gave me.
And then, I'm back. The optimist. The idealist. The optimistic-idealist that gets back to work to make these necessary changes actually take hold and work. Meaningfully. Systemically. For a long time.
Since I love lists, here's my top TED talks.
1) Ken Robinson
**OK... I admit to cheating here, giving two videos. But I couldn't pick which one I liked more, so... I chose both. It's my blog, and I can do what I want!
These videos both shocked and inspired me in terms of the need for creativity, depth, and innovation in our schools... and what are some of the potential root causes (unintentional and intentional) for why our students, teachers, and schools are falling behind in these areas.
2) Dan Pink
3) Angela Lee Duckworth
4) Carol Dweck
** Do TEDx talks count? Yup! Again: my blog, my rules!
5) Todd Rose
6) Craig Messerman
7) Rita Pierson
This. Just: this.
All day, and everyday. This.
There's my list. What's in yours?
Because Reggie Watts.