My #OneWord 2021 is Reclamation. That’s right – I have every intention of being intentional about reclaiming. Like every other year, the word takes on multiple meanings as it applies to different aspects of my life….and so I blog to kind of put it all out there for myself, and anyone else who might wonder why the heck I chose this unusual word!
- First and most importantly is the reclamation of my own self and time. Last year was wonderful, but I was often frenetically overextended. I’m grateful for every moment of it, because it helped me to evolve, but this year I need to slow it down and focus on having down time, making memories with family, reading for enjoyment, and diving deeper into fewer projects. As part of this, I have vowed to limit my time on social media. I’ll be scheduling posts in advance, setting time limits, and even taking complete breaks for days at a time. Believe it or not, I am really looking forward to this. So is my family. They want and deserve more attention from me. Create and Evolve were previous #OneWords from years past that focused on my professional life. The biggest part of Reclamation is my personal life.
- Second is the reclamation of several of my ideas and concepts that have been plagiarized. That word sounds harsh and it’s not quite the “legal” word for what’s been happening. I know because I consulted a lawyer in 2020. It’s not really copyright, plagiarism, trademark violation, etc. when it’s copying an idea that’s been posted to social media. It violates something called “fair use”, but the only recourse I have is to send a “cease and desist” letter that can be ignored – as I expect it will be. Beyond that, all I can do is to continue to promote my ideas as my own….and to “call out” anyone who blatantly markets them as her own idea. In 2020, I took the high road. I never “called out” the offender. I just kept sharing. I love sharing! I want to share freely and I am SOOOO grateful when anyone thinks ANY idea I’ve had is worthy of being used or even replicated. That’s what all good educators do – we share and we borrow. I borrow like crazy, and I credit the creator when I know who it is! Oh, and hey – if you ever use any of my ideas, thank you, thank you, thank you – and I honestly don’t even care if you credit me. It’s really nice but not necessary – just use the ideas and I’ll be so flattered that you found them worthwhile! I’ve spoken at length about this with many people in the past year and everyone seems to understand this: It’s only EVER a problem when someone kind of starts to “market” an idea as her original creation so that she can be credited with the “invention” of it. When we chat, we often cite the example of someone who shares freely on social media only to see her ideas pirated by someone else who uses them to make money on Teachers Pay Teachers. It’s okay to use, borrow, and tweak ideas, but never to monetize them – OR falsely claim them as part of your brand. If you can, you give credit. If you can’t, for the love of all that is good and holy, do NOT try to gain recognition for yourself by claiming to have originated ideas you borrowed from another educator. This absolutely infuriates me and I won’t be a victim of it any more.
So, in 2021, I’m reclaiming….and if calling out the behavior publicly is the only way to stop it, then I’m very intentional about trying that because the high road didn’t work.
Luckily, I have an abundance of friends and colleagues who have seen this happening for the past year and a half, and they spotted the decoy right away. For this reason, I thought of ducks and I call these friends my Do Good Ducks. the Do Good Ducks are people who are ultimately interested in educator integrity, and they advocate the following of digital citizenship practices among people in the education profession.
I unfollowed this offender long ago, so I had no knowledge of what she has been posting. When I blocked her on Facebook and Twitter, evidently she was somehow still able to see and access my posts, so she did everything she could to replicate them and brand them as her own. From the Do Good Ducks, I’ve learned that she keeps doing it almost weekly. She has been the most creepy stalker I’ve ever experienced…and that’s the exact phrase I use when I think of her – creepy stalker. Even my husband – not an educator – has been creeped out by the level of stalking and jealous copying – and he is the one who urged me to contact a lawyer to combat it. I wouldn’t even know about ANY of this, unless other people were watching this unfold and were sickened by it. There’s a growing Voxer group of the original dozen, a few who work for edtech companies, plus the others that have been made aware – so once every week I check in to see/hear if there’s something I need to know. The Do Good Ducks send me screenshots of these things – but only when they matter. I honestly don’t want to know everything, and I ask have asked them EARNESTLY that they not share/screenshot every little thing – that’s why I unfollowed and blocked the offender in the first place. But it’s 2021, I’m fired up, and I will do what needs to be done to stand up for my name, my creativity, and my reputation.
So, as of tonight, I’m making #DoGoodDucks a hashtag for myself and for ALL of you who are concerned with other educators who behave badly when it comes to crediting sources and being honorable. Please share the hashtag and the philosophy with upstanding educators that you know so we can all be #BetterTogether. If you have questions and are equally concerned – or if you have seen this happening with me or with others, please use the contact form at Kerszi.com and let me know, and I’ll add you to our advocacy group. We all appreciate you!
Nine days into 2021 I’m finally announcing my #OneWord2021, so let the games begin! I think I’ll work on part one and just read a book tonight. I’m reclaiming me!
What’s YOUR #OneWord for this year? I love to read the words and the why behind them, so share by responding to this blog post, or you can find me on Twitter as @kerszi, on my Facebook page called Integration Innovation, on Instagram at KersziDotCom, or using the “contact me” form on my Kerszi.com website.