Branding My Teaching… Sort Of

All of the Arrested Development hype that I’m seeing lately is amazing.  Such successful branding.  The way that all of the posters and one-liners are making fans drool with anticipation is amazing.  I’m getting caught up in it.  It’s very likely that I’ll be one of those people that pulls a Netflix bender as soon as it’s released.

Kind of made me think of this Edudemic article on Personal Branding in teaching.  

On my first read I didn’t put  a whole lot of stock in the article.  For the most part it felt very fake and contrived.  I think I dislike the idea of creating a teacher persona, and choosing to act in accordance to a caricature of my teacher self.  When my non-teaching friends ask me what I’m like as a teacher I take a lot of pride in saying “the same… except I swear less.”  The idea of branding in that sense feels counter-me.

Today I re-read the article with Arrested Development eyes, and I think I saw it in a new light.

Maybe when it comes to personal branding it’s not living in accordance to the caricature, but making sure that the already existing caricature of you (the one that others create) is accurate.  If it’s not, maybe that’s something to reflect on.  Maybe that’s something to to change.

I loved this blog post  on self-reflection by Royan Lee.  He talks about capturing his teaching on video.  I really liked all of the conversation that it generated.  The comments from readers are outstanding.  He and his readers seemed to get both excited and horrified by the prospect of seeing themselves teach.  All had isms that would never have been revealed if they hadn’t taken an honest look at video footage of themselves…. If they hadn’t managed their brand of teaching.

One might say that brand management is more about the external than the internal.  It’s more about advertising  or, in the case of teaching, the sharing (sites, twitter feed, student work that’s displayed in schools etc).  Again, I’ll refer to the Arrested Development example.  The majority of the hype that this show garnered was conversational.  It was word of mouth (f2f and SM).  To manage that brand required an in on the conversation.  Their recent posters did just that.  In teaching perhaps there needs to be an “in” to the conversation.  Maybe, like Royan suggests, it’s video.

When I look at branding in this light, it’s an easier pill to swallow.  No one begins their teaching career to be the teacher that kids hate or forget.  Checking in (in any way) keeps teachers on track.  Weather it’s called brand management or reflective teaching, checking in will inevitably help me be the teacher that I want to be.


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