What Matters Most in Education?

Relationships matter most in education.    And in life.


I’ve been back from unplug’d 2012 for just about a week.  I’ve had some time to reflect on the experience, new relationships, old relationships, work & life.   And, it always comes back to relationships matter most.


What I hope will stay with me after unplug’d 2012 is the willingness to be vulnerable.  Vulnerability is something I really struggle with, as do many other people.  Just read some of Brene Brown’s research on vulnerability.   Even at unplug’d I struggled to open up.  I was afraid I wouldn’t measure up to my colleagues there, so many fantastic educators who have accomplished so much in their schools.  My fears of being judged seem to be always lurking below the surface, waiting to be proven right.  But I did it, I opened up.  I shared a piece of myself and of my past with my writing group.  Soon it will be shared with the world.  And it was good.    The theme of our group:


You are not alone.

Photo by Ben Hazzard

None of us are.  We are all connected to one another in so many ways.   If we only take the time to listen.  If we open our hearts to what others are saying and feeling.   The photo above is of our writing group.  I am so fortunate to have met and bonded with these people.  From left to right:  Alan, Karen, Me, Rod & Kelly.


So my focus this year will be developing strong, trusting relationships with my students and colleagues.  Nourishing my relationship with family and friends.  Unplugging more often so that I can really connect.


Yes pedagogy and technology are important.  But relationships are what really matter.


Photo by A. Forgrave

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5 thoughts on “What Matters Most in Education?

  1. Hi Erin,
    I love this post. I too felt the risk of vulnerability and had to step out of comfort zones this weekend. When we placed ourselves into giving and receiving genuine feedback about a piece of writing that was very personal for each one of us, I couldn’t help but think about students and how I ask them to do this regularly. It’s just part of what we expect them to do in class. What must they feel at those moments? That experience gave me new insight into the whole feedback process. I am grateful to have experienced it and will be a more sensitive teacher because of it. Thanks for this very powerful post.

    • Thank you Heidi. It always amazes me to find out that others feel the same way. Yes, imagine the risks our students are taking every day. No wonder we have some reluctance to write. Thanks for commenting.

  2. You’ve nailed it, Erin. Relationships are what really matter. If that is your focus for this year, you can’t go wrong.

    I look forward to continuing to learn with you.

  3. You got it Erin. I have enjoyed Brene’s work about vulnerability as well. My favourite… Don’t puff up. Don’t shrink. Just stand on your sacred ground.
    I think you know how to apply this already. I loved working with you and hearing more about “who Erin is.” Thanks for being vulnerable.

  4. Erin, wow, thanks for your kindness @UrbanMoms. I was as much overwhelmed by your sincerity and passion for learning. The talk we had about kids “loving school” will stick with me forever. Your honesty and dedication to students is energizing. I am thankful we met. For me Unplugd12 tapped into a spiritual instinct for learning through human connection. It lives on long after we leave the edge. Your post brought back a visceral feeling of belonging through the faces of such extraordinary innovators. It seemed we were all there in order to be. It seemed so simple didn’t it? Imagine an Unplugd “etc.” or UnplugdBONUS (maybe 5 days!). Thanks again and keep up the great work. Teachers like you help so many others step up so no student is left behind yearning for the joy only a cheerful school teacher can bring to our lives. (quoting my daughter Zoe-8)

    Have an awesome start up…and to your little ones too!
    James (Cowpernicus)

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