Surround yourself with good people

What is the one thing that will make a huge difference to you and your practice over the coming school year? 

Well, more than likely it is the people that you surround yourself with. Take a time to have a think…

  • Who are the people who are going to push your thinking?
  • Who are the people who are going to ask questions of your practice?
  • Who are the people who are going to support you through the tough times? 

Your mind will probably fall on a couple of colleagues who are always ready to transform your mood, transform your thinking, push you to the next level.

That is what we call the Marigold Effect, according to Jennifer Gonzalez, from Cult of Pedagogy. 

Jennifer’s benefit of finding a Marigold is that…

By finding the positive, supportive, energetic teachers in your school and sticking close to them, you can improve your job satisfaction more than with any other strategy. And your chances of excelling in this field will skyrocket. 

How true is this? I think it is true of any profession in the world:  you want to be surrounded by people who can inspire you; can ask questions of you and will take you and your thinking to the next level. I know and believe this is true.

There is an old proverb that reads “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.” Quite often we become like the people we’re around. Based on that, we must be cautious about whom we surround ourselves with because of the short- and long-term implications.

And that is what we need to do in the coming year. We need to surround ourselves with good people for the benefit our students.

Now, if I think about myself I know that I have people around me in my school. I am lucky to work with many inspirational colleagues who push my thinking and practice forward. For instance…

  • The #COETAIL cohort ( both at ISL and online) have continued to meet and have been a constant source of inspiration and advice with regards to much Teaching and Learning and Technology.
  • The other ATL’s (Activators of Thinking and Learning)  in our school have really pushed my thinking forwards with Making Thinking Visible and Creating a Culture of Thinking,
  • And there are many other like minded colleagues who over the past 5 years I have been lucky to work, to learn, and to grow with.
Photo Credit: abhishek.verma55 Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: abhishek.verma55 Flickr via Compfight cc

I think it is so important that we as teachers surround ourselves with the good people who can make a difference to the teaching and learning that is happening in our learning spaces.

However I think that one of the big game changers for me, and other educators around the world is technology. It has allowed us to connect, to collaborate, to communicate, to share, to learn with and from, to question, to expand, to change our thinking.

This is something that I am likening to the Marigold Effect but Amplified. 

You see technology has transformed what we do, how we do it, and what we need to give to our students. But it has also effected how we share, how we reflect and how we grow as teachers. I think it has transformed the marigold effect. The classroom with out walls has (for teachers) helped to become the marigold effect without walls. It has connected like minded people to share ideas, to question and to push thinking.

How? Let’s take  this week for instance ( and school has not even started for me yet!). You see I have a community online too, as well as in my school. So here is what I have been inspired by this week as my thinking continues for the benefits of student learning. Some of it has been online from my Personal Learning Network ( Twitter, Blogs etc) and some of it has been face to face. So here goes, this is what has made me me grow this week….

So, yeah it’s important to surround yourself with good people.

The people you surround yourself with matter (online and face to face). They generate the opinions, humor and points of view that your mind is continuously subject to.

Over the past 12 years of teaching I have grown with the help of so many good people. Without those people my growth ( and hopefully theirs) would not have been possible.

It is with this community — with their expertise, generosity, and talents — that I continue to grow.

Surround yourself with good people and grow.

Photo Credit: Michael P Bartlett Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Michael P Bartlett Flickr via Compfight cc

6 thoughts on “Surround yourself with good people

  1. Hey Joel,
    Always great to connect with you and learn with you!

    I too believe in the Marigold Effect as the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded people. I find this becomes especially true at work as some of the people I surround myself with at work are not always the people I hang out with…

    One of the things about your post I really liked is what you said about the Marigold Effect being amplified by the powers of technology, PLN’s and Social Media! I have learned so much from you and many of your coworkers through COETAIL for example! We have also maintained connection through Twitter and some of us have or will be taking courses together online.

    I see the Amplified Marigold Effect as an educator however, as a Digital Learning Coach I am trying to facilitate meaningful amplified experiences for the teachers and their students that I work with too. I am going to head over to your Traveling Tales website now but if you have any ideas of other global exchanges I would be very interested!

    Thanks for sharing your post!


    1. Hi Sean,
      Thanks for spending time here. It is much appreciated. Yeah, isn’t it funny how are paths have crossed so many times in the past couple of years. I love the fact that we have connected on a variety of courses ( COETAIL, SUNY) etc and our paths many times through Social Media etc. We have not met each other face to face but we both have lots in common with our interests and understandings about education and technology. Maybe one day soon we can meet in person at a conference?
      Thanks for taking the time to look at Travelling Tales. It has been a great project. I am always looking for meaningful and purposeful ways of collaborating globally for the benefit of student learning. Maybe we could start by getting a Mystery Skype going? All the best,


  2. I really enjoyed reading this and could relate to it on so many levels. I also am lucky enough to work with some of the most inspirational people I have ever met, and I find myself questioning how I approach things on a daily basis, largely due to the interactions I have with my colleagues.
    Reading more about the Marigold effect, I was reminded of a local character in the town where I grew up who was fondly known as Marigold by the people who lived there. He spent his days standing on one of the roundabouts in the town, happily and carefully ‘directing the traffic’ while wearing a pair of bright yellow Marigold gloves. He always elicited smiles and certainly brightened up our day if we came across him. He taught me at a young age about the importance of acceptance and compassion and perhaps in a subtle way impacted some of the choices I have subsequently made about what I value as important.
    I think the point is that the Marigolds don’t always realise the effect they have on us, and that is what makes them so special. We can absorb and benefit from their creativity and energy just through that proximity, whether literal or virtual.
    Thank you for sharing both your thoughts and the links to the other blogs and people.


    1. Hi Louisa, I love it when you said “I think the point is that the Marigolds don’t always realise the effect they have on us, and that is what makes them so special. We can absorb and benefit from their creativity and energy just through that proximity, whether literal or virtual.” – I think that you summarised my post so eloquently ( in fact way better than I could!). Thanks so much for stopping by. All the best, Joel


  3. Hi Joel and happy new (academic) year to you! I keep going back to this post and rereading it. It rings so true to me. Many years ago I was told the exact same thing by a wonderful, vivacious educator whilst working in Ghana, “Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, who make you happy, and are good for you”. We were sitting supping wine in Tuscany at the time during the summer, but I have never forgotten it.
    I am feeling a loss right now with some of my closest friends having left the country and your words touched my soul as I miss their advice, friendship and laughter. I know this is the penance of working internationally and so should be used to it by now! But leaving my son at university in the UK to start his new life has torn at my heart. I hope I have guided him well in finding his tribe and that he will be truly happy with friends who support, guide and shape him.
    This blog challenge has connected me to like-minded people near and far, and despite not knowing many of the bloggers, I am sure we all have much in common. Online friendships cannot match face to face but words can warm and cheer us. I’m excited for the year ahead, connecting with old friends and new, online and in school, but also to developing better friendships where we truly connect and flourish.
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.


    1. Hi Nicki,
      Thanks for stopping by. It is funny how the blog challenge has connected many like minded educators together. Kudos to Tricia for setting this up. I think it has allowed me to grow and gain an insght into more educators who have similair values and beliefs in education. Seeing the amazing things that other educators are doing inspires me and their words can like you say “warm and cheer us”. I will certainly be stopping by your blog to check in to help with the marigold effect.
      All the best,


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