The Documentarian Hypothesis: Why Can’t I Document My Professional Growth With The Same Enthusiasm That I Document My Family Vacation?

I am sitting at the kitchen table at my father-in-law’s beach house in Delaware looking at the ocean upon whose beach my family is presently running, digging, playing and otherwise enjoying a Friday afternoon.  We are on the 20th day of an epic road trip that has taken us by minivan from our home in Jacksonville, Florida to Georgia (picking up our eldest daughter from Camp Ramah Darom) up to Washington, DC, continuing to New Jersey (one set of grandparents), New York City (for early-anniversary-without-kids “alone time”), Pennsylvania (another set of grandparents) and a current pitstop in Delaware.  We will begin the journey home on Sunday with planned stops in Charleston and Savannah.

By the way, if you want to know what that long in a multigenerational minivan sounds like, feel free to enjoy this playlist while you read:

2015-07-23_14_13_36Now if you follow me and/or are “friends” with me on Facebook and/or Instagram, then not only do you already know this…you have (depending on the day) been receiving many updates and photos from the journey.

[I have blogged in the past that my vision of online authenticity requires a bringing together of my professional and personal identities.  Knowing audiences, I tend to keep things more professional on Twitter and Pinterest, more personal on Facebook/Instagram, with the blog almost entirely professional, but with the personal bleeding in when appropriate.  It is isn’t perfect (for example I steer away from any political conversations even in my “personal” space), but it seems to be working for me.]

Of course, taking that long of a vacation is impossible, so I have also been working along the way (proving the point that once you demonstrate you can work from anywhere, you wind up having to work from everywhere), holding meetings, fielding calls and sending emails from wifi hotspots all along the East Coast.  Somewhere along the way, the constant shifting of mindsets from work to vacation led me to ask the question embedded in this post’s title:

Why Can’t I Document My Professional Growth With The Same Enthusiasm That I Document My Family Vacation?

I would highlight the word “enthusiasm”.

I acknowledge that I am probably the exact demographic Facebook was trying to reach 2015-07-13 10.54.41-2when they revised their interface to “The Timeline” back in 2012.  (By the way, I will always be convinced that this was inspired by Mad Men Episode 13 “The Wheel”.)  That innovation completely changed how I use Facebook because I now have a powerful, virtual scrapbook in which I can (and do!) document meaningful events in my life.  I am not making news by suggesting that we now live in a world where the urge to document (selfie stick anyone?) has almost superseded the urge to experience.  I am acknowledging that I, too, feel that urge.  I want to add that picture, that “check in”, that “like” to my timeline almost to make sure that it actually happened.  I feel a tug of pressure that doesn’t dissipate until I make that post, at which time I can shift back into the actual experience.

I’m not saying it is right or healthy.  It simply is.

What occurred me in real time is that I wish I was as enthusiastic and diligent about documenting my professional growth as I am my personal timeline.  And, to give myself a little credit, since I do a fair amount of documenting my professional growth and trying to inspire others to do the same, I am equally passionate about figuring out how to get others to be as willing to DOCUMENT and SHARE their learning as they are pictures of their children, recipes for dinner, and where they happen to be at any moment in time.

I am pleased (ecstatic actually) that in the weeks ahead we are going to begin to not only unpack what may be inhibiting the documentation and sharing that has the power to unlock excellence and transform teaching and learning in Jewish Day Schools, but begin providing answers.

Watch (ed) This (JEW) Space (con).

Author: Jon Mitzmacher

Dr. Jon Mitzmacher is the Head of the Ottawa Jewish Community School. Jon has recently begun his rabbinical school journey at the Academy for Jewish Religion and is thrilled to have joined the faculty of the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI) as a mentor for Cohort 12. He was most recently the VP of Innovation for Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools.  He is the former Executive Director of the Schechter Day School Network.  He is also the former head of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, a K-8 Solomon Schechter, located in Jacksonville, FL, and part of the Jacksonville Jewish Center.  He was the founding head of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Las Vegas.  Jon has worked in all aspects of Jewish Education from camping to congregations and everything in between.

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