Student Well-Being Opinion

My Next Step in Being My Most Recent Me

By Starr Sackstein — September 05, 2014 2 min read
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Guest post by Jon Harper.

Jon Harper is currently the Assistant Principal at Sandy Hill Elementary School. His goal is to connect as many staff members as possible so that they too can reap the benefits of an amazing PLN. You can find him on Twitter at @Jonharper70bd or read his blog at jonharper70.wordpress.com.

“Daddy, how long have you been who you are?”

This was the question posed to me recently by eight-year old daughter. At first, I didn’t know how to respond. Then she clarified. She simply wanted to know when I realized that I wanted to work with children.

I gave her the short version instead of the long, because we had somewhere to be and I didn’t know if she could’ve hung in there for the full story (Actually she probably could have, she’s an amazing girl).

But later on I began thinking about my daughter’s question and it made me reflect.

“How long have I been who I am?”

As I pondered the question I began to realize that I had no good answer. And as I further reflected, I came to the conclusion that I may not ever be able to accurately answer that question.

Are any of us the same person we were last week, yesterday, or for that matter, just a few moments ago? And do we even want to be?

I believe without a doubt, the answer to both questions is a resounding no. I think this is because, as connected learners, we are always looking to grow and therefore we are always in a constant state of flux.

And that is why I think that the name that Starr chose for her blog is perfect:

A Work in Progress

Because aren’t we all?

Sometimes we may take a few steps forward and sometimes we may take a few steps back. But we are always stepping. And we are always trying to get better. The difficulty lies in the fact we see ourselves every day, and since we do, we are not always aware of the progress that we have made. Unfortunately, the progress that we often make is so subtle that we do not even notice it.

This causes us to think that we are standing still or even worse, we convince ourselves that we are moving backwards. Since our brain is wired to hold onto our worst moments, they are what we often use to gauge our progress

That is a shame and that is why we must work feverishly to build our PLN and to help others do the same. If you are reading this, then most likely you know the power of having a PLN. You know how often your PLN has lifted you up.

But for those that are not yet connected, or for those that are alone, we must help them. We must help them build their PLN. So that when times get tough and they begin to doubt whether they will ever make any progress, their PLN can be right by their sides reminding them that they already have.

So as I think back to my daughter’s question; “Daddy, how long have you been who you are?” I realize that I still do not have an answer, but I do have a response.

I would say, “Bailey, I’m really not sure how long I’ve been who I am right now. But watch carefully because I’m a Work in Progress and if you turn your head for just a moment you just might miss my next step.”

How long have you been who you are? Please share

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The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.