Just as I am entering full-on anxiety mode, along comes Tracy Weeks’s post at LeaderTalk. Tomorrow is my official start date as Director of Curriculum for Humanities. Notice I capitalized that. I don’t think I’ve ever had a job title that needed to be capitalized before.
I’ve been thinking about what to expect as I make this transition, and I will admit, there is a lot of apprehension in changing roles; I’ve never known a job that was as diverse and challenging as the one I am leaving. What this next one holds, I don’t fully know, but the glimpses I have seen in the last few days show me that the stakes are higher, the responsibilities greater, and challenges more complex than any I have ever known. I’ve never been one to shy away from things that are difficult, and I have to say I am excited for the challenge.
Things do worry me, though. For example, the idea of change has been on that I’ve bandied about on this blog for a while now. How do you effectively institute it without alienating those that fear it most? And several of us have spoken in the past that people in the field of education have an odd relationship with change. For the most part, we see it as arbitrary, and often hitched to political agenda.
What I learned so well from being immersed in, for lack of a better term, “all things 2.0” over the last year and a half, is that this change we immersed in did not come as a mandate from some overarching political edict. Rather, just the opposite. It has come from the needs of our students, and the desires of some extremely talented teachers who want to reach them with undeniably meaningful and timely lessons using sound pedagogy combined with new tools.
So I look at tomorrow morning with apprehension, but also renewed excitement, as I will take with me the skill set that I have honed up until this point in my career. Tracy spoke of a few things that I really liked, and plan to carry over in some way to my new role:
Being the Change
Tracy talks about using tools with people rather than just showing or telling about the tools. This idea is one I plan to implement as I will be involved in so many projects and groups and committees that keeping track of them will be daunting. Putting my theory into practice by using a wiki for organization, or really trying Google Groups to keep members up to speed will show how willing I am to push the “change” agenda forward, and do so with results in my own practice.
Leading and Learning by Example
One of the greatest by-products of my time as technology coordinator was how closely I was able to examine my own learning. The outcome of that introspection has helped me see the kinds of things that Will Richardson has been talking about for quite a while: teachers and administrators need to look at how they learn, just as they need to look at how their students learn. Getting teachers and administrators to come together to discuss how professional development is changing is a goal of mine, one that I have begun on our district blog, Tech Dossier, but would like to see spill over into what Tracy calls “Lunch n’ Learns.” When you get administrators and the teachers that work with them to the same table to discuss how things are changing, or the ideas that they have for working with students, or how to expand the walls of the classroom (or better, knock them down completely), you get honest change, and you get hope.
We’ll see how this goes. I know this is going to be transformative, and that my life will change dramatically as of tomorrow morning, but this is the right move. This is the direction my head has been going for a while anyway. Wish me luck.
Photo Credit: “Sidewalk Philosophy,” from babasteve’s photostream