Since becoming a parent, I’ve learned that children eat a lot. Endlessly. I’m constantly preparing something. If I’m a busy parent, juggling work and family and seventeen other things, this would be the least-useful to most-useful ways to help me with my food problem:
- I listen to a chef talk about cooking in general. (Less useful)
- I listen to a chef talk about cooking a particular recipe.
- I follow a recipe the chef wrote.
- I watch the chef actually cook the recipe.
- The chef personally teaches me how to cook the recipe in my kitchen. (More useful)
But, you know, that’s kind of solving the wrong problem. I’m busy! Often I don’t even want to cook. The most useful thing would actually be:
- A chef cooks for me.
Friends, there’s a reason that restaurants are such a popular business! Most people don’t really want to have to cook every meal every day. They just want food so they can do the other seventeen things on their list.
The Education Version
So here’s the education version of the least-useful to most-useful list.
- Teachers listen to someone who isn’t even a teacher talk about something that’s sort of related to teaching. (This sounds ridiculous but accurately describes some of my keynote presentations)
- Teachers listen to a teacher talk about a vague teaching idea.
- Teachers listen to a teacher talk about a particular lesson they taught.
- Teachers get a written-out lesson plan.
- Teachers watch another teacher demonstrate a particular lesson. (This was how I learned!)
But, yes, just like with cooking, many teachers don’t really want to learn how to write lessons. They want lessons they can just use, so they can move onto their seventeen other responsibilities. So we have the restaurant equivalent:
- Someone creates lessons that teachers can just use with their students.
And that’s what I’ve been trying to do at Byrdseed.TV. I started the site back in 2012, but really got serious in 2018 when my kid was born and I brought my speaking career to a close.
To Proof Is In The Feedback
Nowadays, Byrdseed.TV has more members than I would ever have dreamed of. It’s way larger than any conference I spoke at. But my favorite metric is the quality of feedback I receive now.
Back in my “talking about teaching on stage” days, people would say to me:
I loved your talk! It was so entertaining. I can’t wait to try the ideas in my classroom.
Now, with Byrdseed.TV, I get emails like:
My students just finished your lesson about the hundreds place and wanted me to show you what they came up with…
Do you see the massive difference? Teachers liked my talks, but they actually use the lessons on Byrdseed.TV.
Why didn’t they ? For the same reason I never use the cookbooks on my shelf! My presentations left too much work on teachers’ plates. They had to try to create a lesson based on some notes they took while I talked. Maybe they’d have my slides. But what teacher has the time to translate notes and PowerPoint into an actually useable lesson?
I Hope I’m Retired!
Every year people reach out to and ask me to keynote an upcoming conference. But now you know why I’ve seriously given that up. Listening to me just talk about teaching is as useful as listening to a chef tell you about a meal they once. My time and energy are limited, and I’d like to be as useful as I can.
So, if you haven’t tried it yet, explore Byrdseed.TV a bit. It’s about as useful as I can be without actually visiting all of your classrooms!