You Can Make it!
We all need motivation, especially at the end of a long school year. Every year comes crawling to an end, but some years drag you through potholes and over mountains to get there. No matter what your line of work, having someone who can help you re-calibrate is vitally important, especially to teachers.
Teachers want to leave a mark on the world and they do it through others. They are the messengers. Like the pizza delivery guy who never contributes to the diner conversation, but who is still extremely important to the experience, teachers feed students so they may grow. I believe the messenger is often the single most important person in students’ lives.
While looking for a new motivational resource I came across John Maxwell. He is a wonderful story teller who has a history as a pastor and author. While watching his YouTube recording I became completely engaged, listening as if he was speaking to me directly. Good speakers know how to make listeners feel that way. His words answered questions I’ve been asking in my head for months; what is my purpose here? Should I stay? Is this where I belong? Maybe you are hearing the same questions from your inner voice.
He said something I’ve never heard before; “if you don’t have your own dream God has someone else waiting for you to join him. Your purpose could be to build the work of others. Put your purpose into the purpose of someone else” (Maine, 2013). I think these words are life-changing.
Maxwell went on to say that if you really don’t know what purpose you serve in the world, use these two clues; first, feel your passion, and second know your skill. Hopefully you are a teacher because these two clues collided in your life. But if you don’t feel re-energized after your summer break, and you truly dread the road full of bumps ahead, please look for different work. Imagine how awful the dinner conversation would be if the pizza guy didn’t make every effort to do his job well.
To see Maxwell in action, watch what he has to say about leadership.
Maine, N. (2013, Dec. 13). Finding My Purpose – John Maxwell. [Video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/0Qr_vJvqItY
Have you considered if the kids in your class or home are socially ready for the technology they use? How do you know? Look for future articles about starting the conversation about kids, technology, and how to know if they are really ready to collaborate.
Photo credits: all images retrieved from Pixabay.com under creative commons license CC0.
Being a good Digital Citizen isn’t that difficult. It boils down to a short list of important considerations described in depth at Mike Ribble’s website. Here’s a simple interpretation.
It’s challenging trying to get society to change. Truthfully, it’s really too much for one, two, or even a hundred people to take on alone, but if it’s important enough, it’s worth trying. Lately, while learning about the many sides of digital citizenship, I have developed a mantra for my school to present as part of the next school year’s technology plan activities, in an effort to build the awareness that will lead to change in how we communicate with and treat each other online.
“Be your best self – in person & online”
Nothing gets the point across as well as a mantra. That’s where we will begin. Digital citizenship is about relationships; relationships with friends, enemies, adults and students, and strangers. It’s about being respectful in spite of our difference, our likes and dislikes, and our personal opinions. So why not start here? We can all become good digital citizens if we simply bring our best selves to every digital encounter. You know who that person is inside of you. All you need to do is choose to be that person.
To read more about the back story behind this mantra, visit
Let’s talk about ethics.
Take a look at the perspective one YouTuber shares about his own experience with copyright and ethics:
You know, ethics – not the law of what we can and can’t do, but what we should and shouldn’t do. As I dive deep into the legal abyss of copyright law I am amazed by the amount of guessing law abiding citizens have to do hoping they comply, which means they use ethics to follow, interpret, or ignore the law.
With the best of intentions, teachers, students and the average YouTube personalities and webmasters might be plagiarizing or infringing on the rights of others without knowing it. These are not the people I worry about being ethical in society. Their actions may be wrong but they care enough to try to do it right.
I worry about the trail blazing people who disregard the law because they lack ethics, and have no moral foothold from which to make positive decisions to better society. I’m talking about people who are never held accountable by either law enforcement or society. In fact, they are often rewarded through their own success, built upon the backs of others, which re-enforces their unethical behavior.
Let’s talk about online theft.
Jonathan Bailey, author of PlagiarismToday.com tells the story of having his poetry stolen and the lengths to which he has gone to regain control of them. The internet is not locked down. People flagrantly steal others’ work and use it for their own gain – which could include earning a paycheck. Society depends on the unwritten laws of ethics.
What’s to stop an unethical writer from stealing great stuff and selling it to card companies to make a living…nothing.
If that isn’t bad enough, how about people who use copyright as means to deter the progress of others by purposely kidnapping their “stuff”, for example on YouTube, claiming it as their own under company copyright rules. Companies cannot enforce copyright laws, that’s for courts to do, but they can and do enforce their own policies, without evidence of any kind.
Companies with policies, including YouTube, follow their own rules whether there is any truth to the claims or not. Basically, it appears in many cases an accusation is all it takes to manipulate the market – and YouTube is a market. It’s no wonder we are losing touch with ethics in our society, which I believe to be the bigger issue. There isn’t a law about being ethical online, ethics are a function of society.
Let’s talk about gamers.
But there’s more. What about gamers? My disclaimer here is I’m not a gamer, but I’m in very close proximity to several, all of whom are ethical people. In fact, the gamers I know all have content lives, give back to society, and are upstanding citizens, young and old included.
It is common knowledge in the gaming community that outwitting other gamers can include exploiting game rules to manipulate having players “kicked” (kicked out) so they themselves can get ahead. This is unacceptable gaming behavior.
This is not to be confused with gamers who discover in-game glitches, use sabotage strategies, collude with others, or have better gaming tools – which are all a part of winning in some perverted, but acceptable way. The issue is that supposedly impermissible behavior (ganging up on good players by reporting them in the game so they are kicked out – basically cheating) requires no evidence on behalf of the accuser, and is effectively clubbing the heads of better gamers who legitimately achieve success, so gangs of mediocre players can feel some sense of accomplishment.
You might ask, does this really matter?
It’s gaming. Yes, it does matter, here’s why.
These same people then go to real jobs and do the same thing to real people, who lose real careers, and suffer real consequences. What about ethics? Isn’t anyone paying attention?
Taking gamers out of their games or staying off the internet won’t cure the problem. In my opinion it boils down to good old – doing the right thing; using the golden rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you; or maybe, remembering karma. Society can write new laws, even enforce them more, but until we build up the value of ethical behavior, it may have little impact on our daily lives.
I have many opinions about ethics but I am not a scholar, far from it. I reflect further in a paper produced at Lamar University where I offer other insights on the topic of copyright, ethics and digital learning.