“Sounds of Silence”

When I first started tweeting via a classroom account created at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, I was reminded of this age old philosophy question:  “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”  My analogy offered a modern day twist:  If you tweet something out to the world and nobody responds, did you really tweet?  Week after week, I’d tweet out shout outs to my teammates, the PTA, other staff, or my school in general, often with no apparent notice locally whatsoever.  The reality at that time and to this day was that no one was on Twitter in my school community.  Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it sure felt that way.  The school has an account that was managed by our receptionist at the time.  I had 5 or so of my 22 families following us:  2 of the 5 were active.  Although our district had a national reputation for heated tweets related to school closings, even a positive shout out for our school tagging the district usually fell on deaf ears.  I had read Your School Rocks: Passionately Pitch and Promote the Positives Happening on Your Campus” and took it to heart,  but it didn’t seem like anyone was listening.  

Enter “The Sound of Silence”… written by Paul Simon over time in 1963 and 1964 and recorded by Simon and Garfunkel in March 1964.  It is an incredibly sad song with lyrics that ring true half a century later. Of particular interest, the following quote:

People writing songs that voices never share.

A tweet doesn’t qualify as a song in my opinion; however, it can be a creation with a positive purpose.   Does the tweet make a sound if no one sees it?  What about a blog post?  A tremendous amount of effort, heart and soul goes into writing a reflection piece.  What if no one reads it?  What if no one shares it?  Does the piece make a sound?

Ironically, the alternative is silence and…

Silence like a cancer grows.

Regardless of the medium, the creative process can be incredibly challenging and time consuming.  We can choose not to create.  We can choose not to share.  We can choose to create but not to share.  All are sounds of silence.

On the other hand, sharing a creation with the world begins a beautiful symphony of empathy inside the deepest crevices of our hearts.  If we are truly lucky, there, even if only there, we’ll hear the loud, undeniable noise of change.  Creating and sharing and hearing the sounds of silence?  Remain steadfast and courageous.  More importantly, listen closely for the new sound within.  Please tell us about your experiences in the comments below so that we can grow together on this journey.

Some additional thoughts:  When I finally decided to explore this topic with the intent to share, I started noticing that this feeling isn’t uncommon:  Check out this January post title by Casey Korder:
“If I Blog and no one reads it, do I still make a sound ? (Thank You For Making the Education World A Better Place)” You can read the full article here.  I’ve had the opportunity to meet Casey in Paul Solarz’s Learn Like A Pirate book study this summer.  Casey is doing some amazing things in her classroom:  Thankfully, Casey shared the link to her blog where I noticed the January title and her post on Design Thinking, something I’m just now learning about as part of A.J. Juliani’s Innovative Teaching Academy!

4 thoughts on ““Sounds of Silence”

  1. You have written a very reflective blog and I enjoyed reading it. Commitment to change is sometimes a lonely path until others feel comfortable sharing their journey as well.

  2. I have asked myself the same question. I stopped blogging about 3 weeks ago because things just got to busy and the traffic to the blog dropped off precipitously. That is to be expected but part of me looked at all the time and energy to get some people coming to read my blogs and it felt like I was back to square one. I wrestle with the idea that writing the blog itself is the reward. Don’t get me wrong I understand the sentiment behind that, do not necessarily disagree with it, but for myself have found that my motivation declines dramatically if I don’t think people will read it. Then I struggle with the idea that then I must just be arrogant because the only reason I am doing it is because I want an “audience”. Anyway those have been my feelings as I have entered into the blogosphere these last few months. I am trying to think of ways to develop just a small group of people I know who will read my blogs (doesn’t have to be tons of people 10-15 is enough for me) so thought up the idea of some sort of blogging covenant where a group of bloggers commit to reading each others blogs. Then the question I had was how to find these people and then could I somehow facilitate that for other people if it worked (some sort of website that pairs people up). Well enough rambling for now. Great post with a great question.

    • Karl, appreciate your sharing your thoughts on this post. Thanks so much for your understanding of the WP glitch & real life happening! An educator in my area Tweeted out this post by Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) Three Tips for Novice Bloggers. His words inspired my first post on this site and he was the first to comment on one of my reflections on my classroom website. Bill makes very good points that I think support the idea of the “noise of change” that happens within as a part of the reflection process. Blogging is a lot of work, so why not reflect in a diary, right? If either you, Bill, or I had written our ideas in a diary, well, chances are extremely high that we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Bill’s post mentions commenting on other blog posts as a way to build community. I thought Triberr was going to help facilitate this, but have found differently. Another idea is to check out EduMatch. I haven’t yet, but am wondering if this would be helpful for connecting educators reflecting on similar topics/challenges?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: