- Watching students grow as readers and writers was so gratifying as an English teacher.
- Taking a 1-6 seventh grade lacrosse team to an 8-2 eighth grade lacrosse team is an incredible feeling as a coach.
- Witnessing new teachers begin to innovate and spark ideas across our staff, is amazing to be a part of as a K-12 Technology Staff Developer.
In each of these examples of growth, there are leaders…but more importantly, there are first followers. My favorite TED Talk of all time (sorry, it’s not you Sir Ken Robinson) is Derek Sivers’ short talk on “How to Start a Movement”. In it, he describes leaders as “over valued” parts to any movement. Instead, it is those “first followers” who really take an idea and make it grow.
As a proud member of the “20% Time in Education” movement, I can bare witness to all of us “first followers”. Maria Montessori, 3M, Dan Pink, and Google can take credit for inspiring most of us to try 20% Time or Genius Hour in our classes. In my case, it was a combination of all the above. What’s exciting to see is how many people are joining the movement, and becoming leaders through following with passion.
The next time you hear an innovative idea in education, don’t just dismiss it as a “trend” or “fad” or “that would be cool to do”. Really think of the benefits for your students. If it is beneficial, you should do it, and try to become a first follower. We need more first followers if we want our students to continue to grow.