Sometimes it is better to beg for forgiveness
than it is to ask for permission.

We’ve all heard that before, but we can’t just do what we want, when we want… Sometimes we have to be political, sometimes we have to follow protocol, and sometimes we have no choice but to ask for permission. That said there are times when it really is better to just do it… and beg for forgiveness should the need arise.

If you are going to take this approach in your classroom here are two rules and a suggestion.

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Rule 1: You are choosing this path because you believe it is best practice.

Rule 2: Your choice of path is safe for students to take.

Suggestion: Share your idea with someone you believe will support you in the interest of the rules above.

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Here now is a brief explanation.

Rule 1: If the goal of your actions is to make your job easier, then this is the wrong approach. You need to be doing this for your students. Often we get trapped believing that best practice isn’t easier when actually it can be. For example, we don’t read everything our students write, but we get online and suddenly we think we have to read everything. Create simple, positive rules online and maintain your high expectations… your best practice approach might just make your job easier as an added bonus.

Rule 2: Don’t do something stupid that puts a student in danger or your job on the line. I think this is a self evident rule- the ‘don’t be stupid’ reality check.

Suggestion: Learning conversations and collaboration help put you on the right path. There are other people around you physically or online, who make things happen. Use all the resources available to you and that especially includes people. This can often include asking permission from the right person.

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•Bud the Teacher’s Open Letter to Teachers

•My Learning Conversations presenation at BLC08, my Tribute to teachers, my Edupunk or Educational Leader? post, and my School 2.0 Participants Manifesto.

•Jennifer D. Jones’ Down In Front

4 comments on “beg for foregiveness

  1. Thanks for the mention.

    However when you say,”We’ve all heard that before, but we can’t all be Gary Stager and do what we want when we want,” I would love to know what you mean?

    I work within the same system you do. I am not some crazy anarchist. I may just have a lower tolerance for helplessness than others.

    I’m not sure why I was the punchline in your blog.

  2. Well, I guess I owe you an apology Gary!

    I admire your ability to say what needs to be said (and in my eyes) whenever you want… I didn’t mean for you to be the brunt of anything, but rather meant it more as a compliment.

    I recently became a VP and had to consider if this was even a post I should write about… I did anyway, but I certainly didn’t feel as free to write as I would have liked. I’ve never seen that (outside) filter on with you, and I respect that.

    Hopefully this clears things up a bit and you can see the point I was trying to make, although it came out much more convoluted than I had hoped… again my apologies.

    There is an irony to me ‘begging for forgiveness’ in this post.

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