A professional brand is a representation of that which you stand for and are passionate about. It needs to be current, recognized, and respected by those in the field and it cannot be fixed in time never to be changed. When I started in this business and headed to a remote teaching job in northern British Columbia, it was enough to have a good interview and a reasonably good practicum report. A picture on your resume was regarded as innovative. Now, it seems, we aren’t in Kansas any more – Twitter, RSS feeds, Facebook etc. etc. Email is now considered to be outmoded, slow, and cumbersome by those that have embraced the newer technologies and, guess what, all of our new teachers have and most of our young and mobile leaders are engaged, networked, and frustrated with a system that is slow to move and catch on. We now need to represent our statements of values and beliefs in entirely different ways.
I wrote in my doctoral dissertation back in 2004 at the University of Calgary that to be successful in education we need to take a stance that engages our skills within our consciousness. That was to say that we, as educators, can learn to be better through our professional relationships and networks. Only seven years ago, this concept was received well and appeared to contribute to the field of thought at the time, yet today it is a given: professional learning, networking, and connection is everywhere and expected not only within our schools and districts but across all geographic and policital boundaries. Indeed, Thomas Friedman, the world is flat!
We can and must grow and it is largely our mindset that will determine our successes. Carol Dweck (http://mindsetonline.com/index.html) deals with the perils of a fixed mindset and the potential of a growth mindset in her book, Mindset, 2006. Additionally, I am inspired by those around me that are on a deeply professional journey and, in particular, right now I am intrigued by the work of a principal in our school district (http://mrwejr.edublogs.org). So, here it goes – a journey to re-brand and stay current: 1. Twitter account (@sbenwell1), 2. Edublog account (this is my first post); and, 3. A Curriculum Vitae that is a living document that reflects our new professional landscape with statements of purpose and action.
These are but a few small steps and the technologies themselves are not what will make a difference. What we do with them will. These are exciting times!