“Connected” Principle #1: Be Your Best Pineapple


If you’ve ever tried to be somebody you are not…this blog post is for you.  If you’ve tried to do every cool thing found on Pinterest or Twitter in the same school-year…keep reading.  And, if there’s anybody in your Professional Learning Network (PLN) that you want to be more like….you’re not alone.  Aspiring to grow and develop as a reflective practitioner is important.

In many respects, growth and change are NOT optional.  We cannot confine students to our own status quo; their ability to thrive in this global, hyper-connected environment depends on our readiness to learn!  That’s one of the primary reasons we connect with each other using Web 2.0 technologies.

However, students need professionals that are also comfortable leveraging, developing and sharing their own strengths.  Stay with me…here’s where the pineapple comes in.

While enjoying an anniversary grilled lunch with my wife recently, I looked at a shish kabob and began to draw connections to educational vision, collaboration and synergy; this analogous thinking can be an affliction, but it makes for interesting conversation at dinnertime!

Now back to the shish kabob.  The most magnificent thing about a grilled kabob is the glorious manner in which a diverse group of meats, veggies, and marinades commingle to create something that could not be accomplished individually.  Can you imagine if a fresh piece of grilled pineapple was so enamored with the beautiful, buttery goodness of a grilled red potato that it was consumed with actually becoming a spud?  Or what if that same pineapple absent-mindedly aspired to take on the best attributes of all of its other skewered companions?   Sounds unrealistic, right?!

The truth is…a pineapple doesn’t need to become a potato or any other kabob ingredient; a pineapple’s only job is to embrace its “pineappley goodness” (and stay connected to the kabob skewer so it doesn’t perish in the bottom of the grill).

We’ve all been impacted by inspiring educators doing really great things for kids.  I work alongside some of the best in the business, and also follow some really amazing teachers and principals on Twitter as well.  Learning from our PLN and connecting with them can be a magnificent thing.  However, it’s probably unrealistic to do all of the best things that others are sharing.

I recently had a revelation; when I focus on just a few difference makers, or key “change” ingredients, I’m more effective and can better support those around me.  Instead of trying to actually become the potato…and steak…and green pepper, try learning with and from them.

What if a kabob consisted of only peppers?!  Embrace your inner-self, collaborate, never stop learning…and above all, be your best pineapple!

Disclaimer: Author not responsible for any damage caused to your spell-checker by words made up in the aforementioned post.

About Dr. Brad Gustafson

I am an elementary principal and author in Minnesota. You can connect with me at www.BradGustafson.com or on Twitter via @GustafsonBrad

Posted on August 18, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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