On the quest for validation, I have to agree with you here that we can sometimes get sidetracked about what is really important.
In addition to the potential causes your mentioned, I think it can also be the result of a lack of peer discussion other than through technology. Other sources of validation may be successful completion of formal study, co-teacher feedback, or the outcome of positive appraisals by supervisors or inspectors.
When we pull back from the heady Web 2.0 world to our real teaching situation, the only votes that count are those of our students and ourselves.
Recently, one little moment stood out for me. I was filling in for a colleague with a grade 4 elementary EFL class and had prepared to teach a song to practice some new sentence patterns. Unfortunately the CD was scratched and the sound kept skipping. With some quick thinking I used that to my advantage by turning it into a rap, complete with typical street rap gestures. Well of course the students couldn't hold back the laughter, (partly because I'm in my 50's too, I guess) and joined me in the fun. What I'll never forget is looking around the room about ten minutes later and seeing the broad smile on the face of one student who was still forcing back a laugh from that 'mistake' I'd made earlier.
That was all the validation I needed for the entire week!
Posted August 01, 2010 at 12:49 AM at http://jasonrenshaw.typepad.com/jason_renshaws_web_log/2010/08/validation.html