Community: the give-and-take of knowledge and experience

educator tips personal responsibility Oct 17, 2022

A phone call the other day got me thinking about the importance of sharing our knowledge. The conversation was with an educator who's been an educator for 27 years and really didn't feel like they needed to be part of a community anymore. They felt they had nothing left to learn and didn’t want to be a part of anything ‘extra’. They wanted to clock in, clock out and be done.

Something didn’t sit right with me, so I sat with it for a while to figure out why I felt this way.

If you've been an educator for 27 years, I'm betting my bottom dollar that you have a wealth of knowledge that you wouldn’t have known when you first started. Like with learning any new thing, in the beginning, we are filled with a million questions! While there are plenty of things we work out for ourselves along the way, it’s pretty much a given that in the early days (of whatever it may be) you will take more from a community than you give - asking for advice, opinions, absorbing old comments and interactions between people who are more experienced.

 

It’s only when you become an educator who has the knowledge, experience and skills yourself that you can give back to the community and support new educators coming through. This far into the game is not the time when you go, “well, no one else can give me anything. I just wanna do what I wanna do and ride off into the sunset.”

I think this is something that we really need to address within early childhood education, particularly when we've got so many educators leaving our profession because they’ve had enough (but that’s a whole other conversation!)

We all know it’s really hard to figure things out alone, and it doesn't have to be hard. We're a community of educators. We need to stick together, particularly now. We really have to stand up within our profession and be the people that lead the way. When we see poor form and when we see poor practice, we don't have to be unkind about it, but we can definitely say, "hey, I'm not sure that’s probably the right way to go about this. Let's come from that in a different perspective. Are you aware of this? Have you considered that?"

One of our most valuable sources of knowledge is from each other, but it needs to be an equal give and take of energy/time/resources/money/whatever the currency may be.

This is not only relevant to our educator communities as well. There are so many different layers of community within our lives - our inner circle, our close connections, our local communities and our global communities.

What communities make up your life? What do you take from these communities? What do you offer in return? 

Community framework template available here.