It’s never too late to be mindful

Ashley shared a blog post that started off my brainstorming on the right foot. She shared a insightful analogy on her take on sharing, illustrated as the good, the bad and the ugly. Just like any controversial idea, there were examples she wrote of for each. However, it is one small sentence at the end of her blog post that caught my attention. She said “We need to be mindful of what we are sharing and consider the lasting effects it will have.”

A colleague and I at Douglas Park School are currently diving headfirst into the “trendy” but intriguing world of mindfulness, and during this journey we have found it to have had profound impact on our students, but also ourselves. In a nutshell, being mindful has been defined as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally,” by John Kabat-Zinn.We are discussing sharing as it applies to a child’s digital footprint. Its not the digital footprint that they leave for themselves thats at stake, rather it’s the one we leave for them. As an eternal fence sitter during class debates, I do agree that it is morally imperative that we guide children to create their own digital footprints and become responsible digital citizens. On the other hand, I do think that oversharing of children on social media does indeed come with risk and I do have concerns over privacy, and personally feel that I like many others need more education around this topic.

Katja brought up a very interesting point that I was too nervous to discuss last week in the Zoom Room. She questioned along the lines of if it was the responsibility of a teacher to develop their own digital profiles and become educated in this field, and be a role model to their students. I noticed that people did not hesitate to agree that we should, and no one questioned it. This has been bothering me all week. While I do not question that this would be for the best, I must compare this answer to a field I am more farmilliar with. Shoutout to Phys. Ed specialist Jayme-Lee Lazorko, or Steve Boutillier (I feel like you may understand my conflict) what do you think about this? If a teacher is expected to delve into the grey area between personal and professional life and therefor personal and professional choices because of the content they are teaching….wouldn’t it be the same thing to expect that teachers follow good nutrition themselves if they are teaching students outcomes that have to do with making positive and healthy choices with food? Or what about all elementary teachers who teach their own Pys. Ed? Would we reply in the same way if we expected that teachers conduct themselves in a physically active way  outside of school?  Is it ok to say that we should expect teachers to follow guidelines in their personal lives because we all like Social Media, whereas come on…we don’t all like running or eating vegetables.

I appreciated the video shared by debaters that documented the classroom of Moose Jaw primary teacher Kathy Cassidy, and how she uses blogging in her classroom. I think that the example she gave of one of her students being able to easily access a clip of herself reading in the first grade, listen to that slip, and self determine her own growth is nothing short of incredible. She also has used sharing to connect her students to other students in different parts of the world, so they can compare and contrast their knowledge. For a young child to be able to see growth, make connections, and find meaning through sharing, this is the stuff that is changing education. Blogging in my classroom is a personal goal I have for next year. I can personally speak to the fact that while blogging for this class, I have found meaning in having an audience in my colleagues. I also know that I have experienced exponential growth and learning through having access to the work of my colleagues. I think its very important that we don’t forget about that part; that if we share, we make our work available for others to learn from and vice versa.

The reason that I personally try not to overshare photos of my children is that I truly believe that children deserve privacy. I think children are people, and right now it is my job to make decisions based on their best interests. I do not know yet, if they will WANT their photos on social media. Sonia Livingstone, professor of social psychology at the London School of Economics says  in the article Does sharing photos of your children on Facebook put them at risk?

“If you put information out there, you are a possibly putting your child at risk in the present, and you could be putting them at risk in the future. We don’t really have a good sense of how likely this is, but both are only likely to increase.” 

I had a moment of pure impulse last week. I had over heard one of my snapchat obsessed students talk whisper about snapchat for the 100,000 time during math class, so I blurted out “Ok kids, when we are done this math unit, we are going to spend the last week of school talking about snapchat and learning digital citizenship!!!!”

Soooo. That happened. I guess all the concern I have about risk that would make me disagree with the debate topic, well…I am about to learn all about it!

Here are my next steps:

Danielle wrote about “Educating Educators- Through courses like EC&I830 and 831, we are taking the steps to become the advocates for our staffs and school boards. I am very proud of myself for just BEING here, in this class. I am taking a step to educate myself and as a result will be in a position to help educate others. So next up for me, is reading the Sask Policy Planning Guide. I am embarrassed to admit that I did not know it existed, but also very , very relived it is there. This document is my imminent future.

Angela also shared an article called How to teach students to build a positive online identity which outlined five questions to get discussion happening around this topic. They are

  1. What information am I sharing?
  2. How secure is it?
  3. Whom am I sharing it with?
  4. What am I leaving behind?
  5. What are my rights?

I think this is a good start for me as I embrace upon this learning journey. I have exercised this is my own experience using social media, but lets face it. In limiting myself and my presence on social media, I also limit my experience and expertise dealing with situations that arise, and as a teacher and a parent I am beginning to question if this if this is actually  the outcome I intended.

I, like others in my class think it comes down to being mindful of sharing. I have caught myself on a few occasions choosing to not share the photo I was about to, because I was THINKING about what I was doing. Not totally sure of the meaning behind this, but I think being present in the moment of choosing to share or not to share, and making that a part of your practice, is enough. Social media has become second nature to us, and we do and share things without thinking. If we as adults can find a balance to sharing and be aware of what we are doing, we will see people using and sharing both in and out of the classroom in meaningful ways and sharing responsibly will be something that is passed onto the next generation. (If they are not already ahead of us on this one anyway, lets face it)  Amy Singh-you go momma. You are not that parent, because you are being aware, you are being present, you are being mindful.  I think that, is enough.




3 thoughts on “It’s never too late to be mindful

  1. You bring up a good question about the professional and personal expectations of teachers’ technology use and whether it is any different than having these same expectations regarding teachers’ modeling of good health. It is often hard for teachers to maintain a work life separation and social media is making that separation even harder.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s