The source of my anger is a pencil. This Pencil.
On this particular occasion, “The Pencil” was retweeted 28 times and liked 55 times.
So witty, hilarious, clever.
It’s a pencil, it’s technology, it’s education. Get it?
it’s infinitely shareable. Put it on your twitter, pinterest, instagram, facebook.
So why am I so mad about it?
It’s my colleagues, your colleagues, our colleagues that are getting labelled here. What purpose do these labels serve?
Would we tweet a similar picture if the object of the labelling were our own students? “The sharp ones”? “The dunces”? Surely we’re aware of the damage these kinds of labels would do in our own classroom? Why apply them to our colleagues?!
This image pours scorn upon “the wood”, “the ferrules”, “the eraser” and “the hangers-on”.
Doesn’t this seem a little high school to you?
And of course we’re retweeting this pencil from the pointy end. If you’re a teacher on twitter no doubt you are one of the “leaders” or maybe one of the “sharp ones”. But would a true leader spend time labelling the rest of “The Pencil”.
Yet it happens. When I took on the job of technology coach at my school, lots of people were more than happy to come to me and let me know that…
These were self-styled “sharp ones” telling me all about the failings of the “erasers” and the “hangers-on” in my school. But here’s the thing…
Nobody is defined by a label.
We are all multi-faceted teachers trying to do the best for our students. When I work with teachers that are supposedly “erasers” or “ferrules” I discover that, without exception, they are anything but. They are all educators who are passionate about their work and want to do the best for their students in their own, complex way. Nobody can be summed up in a single word. To make the attempt is foolish at best and bullying at worst.
I’ve spoken about this before here Nobody Likes Change, Everybody Loves Improvement and the teachers at my school affirm it every day. They will use technology when and if it’s appropriate in their own classroom given the opportunity and tools required.
Labels Are a Sign of a Fixed Mindset
If you think you’re a “sharp one” and all you see is “ferrules”, then you’re the problem.
“The Pencil” reminds me of a joke
But What Should We Retweet?
You can retweet this disjointed angry blog post if you like. Or perhaps my new and improved pencil metaphor (below).