Monday, January 2, 2017

A Need for FEISTY

New years always lead to reflection of previous years for me. As I look at myself, I realize in 2017 I will have been graduated from high school for 30 years...30 years?! It made me really think back to who I was in high school compared to who I am now.

Most people don't believe this but I was a quiet, under the radar student who just couldn't wait to finish high school. Nothing about high school was really fun to me. It was just something I did. When I see people now that knew me then they are amazed at my personality change over the years. I was 5'11' and 120 pounds with the nickname "Stringbean" given to me. I was tall and skinny and when they wind blew, I went with it....and so did my sense of self-esteem-it was definitely lacking. I wasn't much better in college but I did begin to feel more confident in my own skin.

Today, I see myself as feist·y
  1. (of a person, typically one who is relatively small or weak) lively, determined, and courageous.
    "a feisty heroine who's more than a pretty face"
    "the part of Annie called for a just-so balance of adorable and feisty"
  2. touchy and aggressive.
    "he got a bit feisty and tried to hit me"

    I wonder how I got here. How did I go from wallflower to feisty and when did it happen? And am I glad it happened? I think edtech did it to me to some extent, at least it pushed me greatly beyond where I was. Being an instructional technologist has caused me to need to stand up for technology integration in ways I never saw coming. I'll be honest, it's sometimes hard for me to separate myself from what I do, therefore I often take it personal when others say negative things about the technology integration I am a part of. I try daily to find the balance I need to prevent this but it is definitely an ongoing struggle for me. Thus...feisty Julie appears.

    I tend to be passionate about the things I believe in and am a part of. As an accountant many years ago, I had my own clients at age 21 because I was good at what I did. As a creative arts director at my church for years I pushed our team to be really remarkable in their performances. As a related arts computer teacher, I strived to integrate technology with classroom subjects before that was cool. I also taught keyboarding differently than anyone I know. I raced the kids (literally running laps around the classroom) to get them to increase their speed in typing. But none of those things made me feisty.

    Feisty came in the last 4 years as I have pushed, led, and sang the praises of the beauty of technology integration done well. Opposition is there. Having a vision to prepare our students for jobs that might not even exist today pushes me to see technology more integrated in our curriculum. Feisty comes when trying to be heard. Feisty comes when I want to show others the efficiencies and benefits of technology in education. Feisty comes when I get push back. 

    As I look at who I have been I must say that the old Julie was easier. Doing my thing, staying low, and making a difference in a classroom...but Feisty Julie is needed (balanced with some of the traits from high school Julie). As I look forward I hope to find my balance, be supportive of my school's culture, and be a difference maker in challenging others to think in different ways while not becoming hardened, hurt, or ambivalent in the process. How will I do that? Keep my eye on the prize...and in this case I believe the "prize" is graduating students equipped to make a difference by teaching them under the umbrella of the following philosophy:

    With the advancement of technology in the world we live in, CCS sees both the need and responsibility to equip our students with skills that will prepare them to critically think about the virtues and pitfalls of this medium. It is our desire to lay the foundation for appropriate usage to mold our students into digital citizens with a biblical worldview. Due to our accessibility to technology it is to be used to enhance education, expand education outside the walls and timeframe of the classroom, and empower students with skills to enhance lifelong learners.

    Technology is rightly used in education inasmuch as it helps improve human flourishing, student learning, teacher effectiveness, and institutional coherence and communication. As educators, we must model and instruct wise and discerning use of technology.