Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Working outside my comfort zone

I have been thinking a lot about comfort, transparency, and professional growth. I can't think of a single aspect of next fall that lies within my comfort zone.

The demonstration classroom pushes me to the edges of my teaching, my personal/professional space, my comfort with being observed, of dealing with people, of being judged -- my entire professional sense of self worth as an educator. yikes. The demonstration classroom is an incredibly transparent way to teach and part of me is scared to death of the level of exposure I am about to engage in. I am going to make mistakes. In front of my peers. In front of principals. In front of upper administrators. What are going to be the consequences of those mistakes?

The Teacher on Special Assignment position is much the same. I will be in new territory--budgets, grants, planning meetings, coordinating efforts (often with peers who teach in areas I know little about). The organizational aspects, keeping it all straight, are daunting. I am a well organzied person, but this living in two worlds is really going to demand a new level of awareness and coordination.

Even with all this, though, I am really looking forward to the change. As a teacher, I get to do even more of what I've been trying to accomplish regarding tech integration. With the ToSA position, I get to expand this to district level conversations about the changing nature of trying to teach in a world where the notions of what it means to be literate are changing.

As one of my fellow alternative teachers reminded me on the last day of school, growth occurs at the edges, at the borders of our comfort zones and the new things we experience. I need to remember that this is an opportunity. The transparency of the demonstration classroom, of having colleagues come in and observe, is a chance to invite expert teachers into my space to see what I do and get their feedback. Part of the process, of visiting my classroom, will need to include time to sit and visit with me afterward. Face to face commenting, as it were.

No comments: