Reflecting and A Review of The Relevant Educator

I finally started reading one of the Corwin Connected Educators Series books this week. I’ve had these books on my desk for a month or two now not making time to read them, which I regret very much. Reading – even the shortest books such as these in the focused series – are not only valuable, but inspiring.

I started with The Relevant Educator by Tom Whitby and Steven W. Anderson. Why did I choose this one? The title jumped out at me that’s for sure, as I wanted to make sure I am relevant. At times I wonder if all of the reading I am doing on Flipboard and Twitter is relevant enough for what I should be reading, as it’s usually a smörgåsbord (yes, I looked up this spelling!) of topics, with no real focus. I actually think that’s why I’m always surfing for articles and blogs to read, as I want to be sure I’m keeping up with what’s relevant in education. As I picked this book up, I actually found myself taking a break from social media to take it all in. It was actually kind of nice.

Tom and Steven do a great job of sharing their focused thoughts on what is relevant in an educators world.  They had my attention right away in the first few pages of reading, making some interesting points to ponder:

relevant-keepTechnology skills in the 21st century are not only skills educators need to use, but educators are also charged to reach these same skills to students. p.2

Educators need to overcome their resistance to learning in order to be relevant in our technology-driven society. p.6

As I’m writing this, all I want to do is quote everything that I wrote down (because of course, I had Google Keep close by). I’ll refrain, as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

Ok, just one more:

Teachers and administrators who maintain blogs report that they reflect more and focus on changing what doesn’t or hasn’t succeeded for more relevant approaches in their work. p.20

pdWhat really stuck with me after reading this book is that being relevant isn’t easy – nor should it be. Educators are in a profession where life long learning is (or should) pretty much be mandated (although we all know that it is not); otherwise, we are doing a disservice to students by not relevantly preparing them for their future in an always changing world.

There is a problem however; constant cries for professional development opportunities are not only sought out by teachers, but relied upon for some. This is a mindset that needs to change across the board in order to provide a consistent and current educational experience for students.

The focus on being connected and how it empowers learning is what makes this a great and timely read. As they say in their closing pages:

Technology plays and will continue to play an ever-growing role in our lives.

We all need to take ownership of our relevancy. Educators at all levels of a school system should read this book – a definite recommend.

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