Who we are is complicated. We are a temporal product of all our influences, both good and bad, from our parents, to our friends, and all of those who we meet along the way. As educators it is much the same. We did not get to be where we are on our own. Hopefully not at least! Rather, who we are as educators stems in large part from the experiences we have accumulated from those around us throughout the course of our careers.

The reason I got into teaching was Mrs. Sherman from Chico, California. She was my grade 4 teacher, my grade 6 social studies teacher, and eventually even my grade ten English teacher! Then through college and beyond we always stayed in touch. Her words to me when I started my teaching career were “my you inspire others as I have inspired you.”

The point is perhaps most eloquently expressed by Sir Isaac Newton …

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

In other words, we all need a mentor, a friend, a trusted adviser who can show us the way.

As I reflect on who I am as an educator today, I have come to the realization that if I have seen further than others it is by standing upon the shoulders of John Iglar.

And the reason I have been able to “see further” is because John believes in the power of open source (aka sharing). No agendas, no ulterior motives – just a genuine openness to share his knowledge, skills, resources, time, and ideas with others. John has undoubtedly left a lasting mark on my educational practice, I am thinking tangibles such as the power of coding in the classroom, electronic portfolios, and all his myriad other thoughts on using tech and thinking outside the box in an educational setting.

However, while technology is ephemeral (today’s tablet is yesterday’s papyrus scroll and tomorrow’s … ?), what I only now realize is how profoundly John has impacted my educational philosophy.

Debbie Miller is quoted as saying, “no one has a patent on the truth. Find yours.” (Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades)

And so, without further ado, I present to you my truth …

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So today take a moment to reflect on who you are, both professionally and personally. Found your mentor(s) along memory lane there? Now don’t forget to give thanks, then share, and pass it on … someone out there will become the better for it … I know I did.

Thank you John.

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