Be Impressive or Be Known

I have a confession. I like to be impressive. Unfortunately it never works out that great. I trip over my own ego on a regular basis and it leaves me flat on my face wondering how in the world I thought of myself so well. My pastor once told me that you can either be impressive or you can be known. In the past I have used twitter and this blog as a place to try to be impressive and to pretend like I know what I’m talking about. This tendency has kept me from engaging in the #mtbos community. I have been a spectator for a little over a year, retweeting and replying occasionally to people who have incredible ideas and depth of experience. MTBoS is endlessly challenging to me. As a result, I stand back and watch in fear of not being impressive enough to take part. But it’s time to get over that. From here on, this blog is not a place to show off myself, it’s a place to be known in all my professional shortcomings and inquires. This will not be a platform for my perfect lessons (mainly because I’ve never known one to exist) or my brilliant ideas (I have many many ideas rather than any that are strikingly brilliant) and I’m jumping in, terrified of what may result.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Dan Meyer says:

    Fun resolution! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed sharing rough draft thinking. I’m embarrassed by every single blog post that is over three years old. But I couldn’t have developed as quickly as I have had I not put all my rough drafts out there in the street.

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    1. Thank you! That’s incredibly encouraging. Being polished is so trained into us as academics. It’s tough to put ideas “out there in the street”, as you say.

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  2. Pierre Tranchemontagne says:

    Good stuff Madison! Isn’t what you are asking of yourself what we ask of our students? Take risk. Share your thinking. Recently, I’ve been reading Cathy Fosnot’s “Constructing Algebra”. She quotes a person (who’s name I now forget) who said “The source of invention is the most interesting part, moreso than the invention itself.”

    I’m looking foward to reading the sources and the process before your “inventions”!

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    1. Thank you for your honest response to Dan on twitter! It helped me flesh this out.
      Risk and honest reflection is exactly what I ask of my students and of myself (although, honestly, it may be to a lesser degree). I think the big difference is being known digitally and being known in person. In person, you can form relationships, see people face-to-face as they take risks so that being open and honest doesn’t feel like as much of a risk. We have been trained to put our best foot forward online – employers, peers, the general public are watching so we must not embarrass ourselves. It feels counter to everything I have learned about my online presence to not polish myself up on the internet.
      Also, I’m prideful and want people to think I’m awesome… so I’m fighting that on a regular basis as well. I love that quote about invention. The source is truly the most interesting, but sometimes I want to keep my “interesting” parts of my thinking to myself. Interesting sources get critiqued, successful inventions get praised.

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