Making Reflecting & Connecting A Priority Again

Or an apt sub-title, Why I Started to Blog/Write Again

In a nutshell, for me, it is about two concepts: perspective and modeling.

This November will be the two year mark for a post I wrote titled Waking Up Rip Van Winkle. The focus was on my experience at EdScape 2013, how I had fallen ‘behind’ in keeping up with the power that technology has afforded us all, and what I was hoping to do to get back on track.

That was supposed to be my ‘aha’ moment that was going to propel me back into the awesome, powerful world of connected educators.  I had been blogging, but maybe not enough or not in a way that was contributing.  I had been on Twitter, but I wasn’t maximizing its potential to build relationships and learn or grow.  Here comes the irony…it was actually the moment where I basically leveled out and, arguably, took a step back.

I started with trying find reasons and excuses for why: new job, new culture, new family.  With some consistent prodding from my good friend and colleague @ajjuliani, and some teacher guilt, I am going to be proactive in building in time to get back on the wagon.

There are a number of reasons, but the two that stand out are:

  • Perspective: For the 10 or so years the journey of trying to effectively integrate technology to help move towards a more student centered classroom began, I cannot overstate the power of working with others has had on me, and therefore my students.  At first it was just locally, but then as social media and other technologies began to grow and become more accessible the ability to collaborate and learn went beyond just our school’s walls.  The more we (I say we because it really was a shared effort in our department and school) reached out, began to blog, to read, to video chat, attend conferences, take classes, etc…everything became ‘amplified’.  Our own learning, our students’ experiences, and our overall school’s culture all grew and adapted to what was happening around us.  It is the widening perspective….
  • Walking the Walk: From the moment I decided to actually use my degree to teach, the first step I took was to make sure to build in time to work and learn to model the behaviors I expected out of my students.  When I taught Middle School ELA and worked with my colleagues to create a collaborative, interdisciplinary, and literate environment, I read volumes of Young Adult Literature, wrote marble notebook pages full of a Writer’s Notebook, and opened our room to co-teachers and colleagues…and we made sure the students saw all of it.  When I moved into the position as an Instructional Staff Developer/Literacy Coach, I traded in the YA for professional texts, helped build a professional learning library, and made sure to take classes, attend conferences, and really  live the ideas of and educator as constant learner.  When I moved to the HS and started teaching everything from our Academic to AP levels, I made sure to read, watch, and adjust what I did and knew to match the content, skill and learning demands of the students I shared my days with over those years.  Now, as an administrator in a district in which we are in the beginning stages of the process of integrating technology throughout our K-12 classrooms, encouraging our teachers and students to connect, take risks, and embrace the changing nature of a classroom in 2015, I need to do a better job of modeling.  Plain and simple.

What the eventual outcome of all this be? I have no idea.

But it is that excitement of the unknown and of the possibility of where it may go that is feeding this return to connecting, sharing, and growing!

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