Idea Fatigue and Staying Anyway

Sometimes I read a blog post by Terry Heick and a few things may happen.
1. I read it through a couple of times to make sure I get the gist and often feel briefly wowed by the profundity.
2. I go into social comparison mode and rank his visible thought process as deeper and more substantive than my own.
3. Part of me feels uplifted and as a result, I save the link to Evernote for eternity and perhaps tweet it out to my network.
4. Another part of me simultaneously wants to promptly leave the field of education without a trace.

What’s going on here?
One of the joys and also woes of diving into the fullness of twitter and other social media is managing our sense of self as we engage with so many others in various ways. On the one hand, I revel in the intellectual challenge and meatiness that reading a well crafted blog post can offer. On the other hand, particularly if the post concerns education and proposes steps towards rethinking and changing practice, I can also develop a sudden case of “idea fatigue.” That moment when you recognize that your will is much weaker than your best intentions. It’s when you decide to fold rather than play out the hand on the chance that the next card might just turn things around. It’s the point at which your incredibly wise, diligent and productive learning network members rise to edu-Olympus without you. These are the very real moments when I think maybe because I don’t feel as ready to “go hard” as many others, I should decide instead to “go home.”

All that said, I have yet to actually “go home” or to leave the field. I keep reading, saving, tweeting, commenting, coping. For the time being I am enjoying a break from the classroom to focus on coaching. I have other, not bigger, fish to fry. My idea fatigue is real and so is my commitment to ongoing learning, however checkered and imperfect.

So when I read this knock-out imagined speech from student to teacher imagined by Terry Hieck:

Help me to see the limits of my own knowledge in a way that fills me with wonder. As a song I’ve never heard. Why should I care? Not the future me–the right-here-and-now me.

And maybe more crucially, how can we–you as the teacher, me as the student–turn this learning process all the way around, where it becomes to be about what I don’t know as a kind of spectrum of context and possibility.

Where ignorance is a kind of elegant and formless to-do list that shapes and reshapes itself endlessly, lighting my eyes with boundless curiosity and fire.

… I want to weep both for joy and despair. For he has captured both the essential longing and weighty onus of great learning.


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