Once again, I transposed weeks so I am backtracking and doing last week’s post for this week.
Last week’s topic: Most of us are somewhere near the end point of the school year. Reflect on the 2014-15 school year. What went well? What didn’t go as well? What changes are you going to make for the 2015-16 school year?
This year, our school board approved the addition of nearly 15 more positions in the instructional technology department where I work. It was a great decision for the district, but it changed my year significantly. Until that point, I split my time between an elementary campus and a high school campus. With the addition of new positions, I was moved to the high school full-time about a week before school started. So, even though I had started many programs at the elementary, I had to abandon them without any notice. It was a bittersweet start for sure.
Because of having to leave some of the programs I enjoyed, I went to the high school with ammo to start secondary versions of the clubs. I was ready to see the same level of enjoyment I had with elementary teachers. I was ready to take on the world. In some ways, I felt invincible. But, I was not.
In many ways, this year was full of changes that forced me to change how I viewed my position and my own goals for my position. I was reminded of baby steps. While you may have intentions of taking on the world, you have to run that idea by the rest of the group. They may not have the same ideas.
Compromise. Smile. Be patient. If I could sum up my year, it would be with those three actions. With every change, you need to compromise. You need to smile. You need to be patient. And, if you can’t do all three, smile. Do lots of smiling.
Though I never got our student tech program running in the manner I planned, we did make some small steps. We were able to do professional development, which brought in more teachers into training than we had ever had. The students gave us a new perspective. They moved us away from just being the “IT” office to being a spot where students visited too.
I only had three opportunities for large-scale professional development, which was less than I hoped for. However, all three were more successful than any one previously. They were teacher-driven and allowed for teacher choice. We were able to change technology training away from “how-tos” and more to “whys.” Professional development grew.
Several new systems threw in major wrenches into the year. At times, we had to drop everything just to focus on the problems associated with these new systems. And, while I do not wish the havoc those programs caused on any teacher, we did bond as a unit. We learned to improvise. And, we all improvised very well.
This year was not full of earth-shattering events like last year’s Google Ninja Academy. However, it was a year of small steps and a year of progression. Last year, we had big events that set into motion many changes. This year, we implemented those changes. This year was more difficult for that reason and the progress was less evident. But, it was there.
Next year, I’ll be leaving my current district for a slightly different position with a new set of students and teachers. Once again, I cannot wait to “set the ground on fire.” However, I come in with new perspective. As my librarian said: it’s not about what you are going to do. You are one person. It’s more about what the team will do. So, rather than coming in with a huge set of ideas to change a system I really don’t know, I am going to tone down my excitement and “compromise, smile, and be patient.” It’s a challenge. Many of us in the EdTech field are passionate and we come in with grand ideas, ready to change the world. And, that excitement is needed, but it needs to be put in the context of what the team will do.
What can WE do?