Saturday, February 20, 2016

Boom...drop the mic.

I believe dreams and goals are important to finding and maintaining professional happiness. I tend to have a restless need for bettering myself, trying new things, and pushing my comfort zone a bit.

As a related arts computer teacher for nine years, I never had the same lesson plans from year to year because I needed the change and challenge to stay content. I was content in the role of a classroom teacher because it was a very compartmentalized part of my life during a very busy part of my "Mom Life." 

As I stepped out of the classroom teacher role to the tech coach role three years ago, my bent to restlessness increased- to some extent I "blame it" on Twitter. The truth of the matter is, blame isn't the right word- attribute would be. Twitter has opened my world to innovation by the multitudes. I'll be honest, when you think of an accountant turned teacher I'm probably not the mold you expect. I've always had a need to be creative. This might explain why accounting didn't end up being a long term calling! But I digress. 

Here is my current dilemma...finding value and contentment where planted. Like never before I see so much potential in educational technology. I enjoy the opportunities I've been given to be a part of prototype models of blended learning and leading a 1:1 iPad initiative for fifth graders this year at my school.  I also love that I have a voice in the Twitterverse, have been given opportunities to speak at conferences, and can share my edu thoughts within my blog, that's for sure. BUT I also struggle greatly with being patient with the rate of change I see towards innovative thinking and the slow trek to being more student-centered in educational institutions. It's a ME problem. I see potential not being tried. I see innovative people that just need some wind beneath their wings. I see students needs not being met. And I want to make a difference.

My one word for 2016 was BETA- I see it as a willingness to try things that are not status quo but also already being implemented by others so not necessarily cutting edge, but I think many people see me more as a one word personality of TECHFORWARD. (Yes, that was a made up combo word.) I don't believe in tech for tech sake but I am living in a world where I can see well used tech making significant differences in the lives of students towards better learning.

When does one know when enough is enough? I know we can't implement every awesome thing I see or hear about. How does one choose the best path for the environment one is planted in? LMS or no LMS? Blended? Flipped? Disruptive? All these things sound like a technology rollercoaster. No wonder so many people fear the thought!

My prayer is that as a technology coordinator I will always be able to find my balance and be perceived as an educator that sees value in balance. I fear that because I tend to use social media to speak into my learning, it sometimes makes people defensive that I'm going to try to force them into something. That is never my goal. I believe wholeheartedly that those who work with me often know that about me.

As an instructional technologist I often take part in Twitter chats that talk about moving teachers to the next level in tech integration, teachers that refuse to change, and about an unwillingness of school cultures to move forward but I also know not every lesson needs to be tech-enriched, not every student thrives with every technology option, and there is so much prep that goes into those statements of disappointment that are often shared by my tech integrationist friends. 

What a rambling mess this post feels like. I guess my point is I want to be an approachable educator that is valued and respected where I'm planted.