Stepping out of the classroom in a support role for teachers and students felt right for me in my professional journey. The allure of new challenges and continued advanced learning was the obvious next step in my career. Mostly, it has been truth. Time away from grading papers affords me the opportunity to deepen my understanding of new technologies and how they fit into sound Instructional Design to benefit all learners. Helping plan and deliver robust professional development to hundreds of teachers as they prepare to embrace instruction in a 1:1 environment has been an honor.
Classroom teaching continues to mesmerize me. I have watched for over 22 years as policy changed, methods came in and out of favor, silver bullets morphed in name and color, the only constant being the human component. That essential element of teacher and student, and the trusting supportive relationship that must be established for learning to occur.
Increasingly in my role as technology facilitator I encounter teachers who endeavor, with everything in them, to meaningfully engage their students. Lamenting often that they have simply run out of time. Early adopters of tech are the hardest on themselves. These educators are also consummate learners. Invigorated by their content and eager to learn new technology both for themselves and for their students. This year, with my bullet journal ready to go and a working plan for each of my ten schools I visited one of these educators to relay the availability of an enhanced whiteboard platform. We had explored the tool together, but I cautioned him to wait till the district had populated his classes with students before building a workspace to share. The time had come and we were both excited to test it out when he said something that has really resonated with me.
“This year I am really trying to do the right thing. The magic is to make sure there are meaningful tasks, you know, inquiry based learning. But there isn’t enough time to do it all.”
He clarified to let me know that he always tries to do the right thing, but this year seemed different. This year with his content firmly under his belt, and Canvas, our learning management system clearly helping him reach his students and their parents both in school and at home, he wants to shift the in class experience to something even more vibrant. This teacher, always eager and interested, creating wonder all around the room with circuits, lights, convection currents, and buzzers, always offers to help his peers. He is kind, polite, inclusive, genuine and consistent with his students.
He did not have to clarify his intentions to me. In this new year of continued cuts and insults to the world of education that we both hold so dear, it is I who will reaffirm that yes, I too, am really trying to do the right thing. There is no one size fits all in education, for students or for teachers in professional development. To be the change we must inspire.