Saturday, December 08, 2007

Planning the School of Today (and Tomorrow)

One of my new charges is to facilitate, through the district instructional technology committee, the creation of a recommendation for bringing our schools and classrooms into the 21st century. What hardware, software, and web access do our teachers need in order to prepare students to be responsible citizens in the world today (and tomorrow)? What are the similarities and differences in the needs of K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 educators and students?

Along the way, we will also need to discuss professional development, and I would like to see a mix of formal and informal opportunities. Since so much of web 2.0 is about literacy and learning, shouldn't teachers be allowed to get professional development credit for creating and engaging in their own personal learning environments?

What is your district doing? Is there a plan, a systematic approach, to developing the integration of technology into all classrooms across the district? How is PD handled? Are teachers provided a way of getting credit for their own, informal, explorations of technology?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sitting at the Big Kids' Table, Part Two

Back in June, I was hired to work part time as a teacher and part time as a teacher on special assignment in the curriculum office. A few weeks ago, the teacher on special assignment I was job sharing with decided to retire early--the end of November. Surprise.

My plan had been to spend the year working with her, learning the job, and then step out of the classroom and into full time curriculum work next fall. Life, as Lennon put it, is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

Yesterday, I was hired to be the full time teacher on special assignment starting Monday. My head is still spinning. This morning I was up at 4am because the thoughts just kept intruding. My students took the news pretty well, and it was hardest telling the ones I've worked with for two or more years. I teach (er, taught) in a small school, so I've worked with many of them. But they also understood. While the timing isn't exactly what I had planned, the end result is something I've been working toward for the past three years, and my students have seen some of those efforts, especially the ones who were in one of my classes while I was working on my Master's Degree.

What hit me last night, though, as I sent my parents (both educators themselves) an email letting them know the good news, is that while I am leaving my classroom for the rest of the year, I may very well be leaving my classroom for the rest of my career.

Part of finally getting back to writing a blog entry is because this thought keeps popping up.

But I am excited about the change. My new role extends my voice at the table, including helping to shape the district vision for integrating/embedding/verb-of-the-moment-ing technology into the curriculum. I will also be working with folks from across the district on academic recovery, an issue near and dear to this alternative teacher's heart.

Monday morning is going to be difficult. The first of many days that doesn't involving working directly with students.