I want to talk about Branding. Educators, schools, consultants, it seems to be the big thing in the education world. Over the past several months I have been thinking more deeply about branding because of my upcoming book, the podcast, and this blog. I have a message I want to share with the world, and using my “brand” could theoretically help me get it to them. I have had this conversation several times over with different people, found interesting viewpoints from different audiences, but time and time again I am drawn back to the same fundamental issue I have with branding: I am more than one thing.
Last weekend while I was enjoying another incredible ECET2NJPA event (I am fortunate to have been at 3) someone asked me, “hey, you’re that breakout guy? right?” In fairness I was presenting a session on breakouts, one I have given many times. I have also built a number of games both physical and digital and share them widely. That’s not the point. The point is that I struggled with the label. Afterwards, while I was talking with a new friend, she recommended, “Just go with it.” The reality is, breakouts are something I am good at. It is just one minor piece of a much larger puzzle.
I have thought about what branding might look like, might mean for me, and for me all I can settle upon is this: I am me. I have many passions, an occasionally odd sense of humor, a tendency to overuse gifs on social media, and a love for debate. Even these brief descriptors, as accurate as they are, fail to come close to explaining me. Branding is an odd concept in education. I see where it can be useful, but I also see it as limiting. So, as I will almost certainly share, and likely overshare what I do, I refuse to confine myself to being a single label. All of us should aspire to be more.