Last week I was asked to take part in a panel discussion on how I have used my Ed Tech skills. I was the only teacher in the group of four people, with the others spending 10-20 years in the corporate world. When we were asked how we got to our current situation, the others went on about numerous different jobs and companies, both before and after the degree.
As I was thinking what to say, I came to a couple realizations. First, my story was much shorter. I decided to that I wanted to be a teacher the first time in 6th grade. I remember consciously taking a number of worksheets (they were dittoed) for “when I became a teacher.” I had an amazing teacher for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. Mr. Ritter. Also the first male teacher I had. That is probably part of it too. Some six years later after graduation, I was wandering around Europe and decided that I would be a history teacher. Sure I changed my major four or five times, but I started a history major and ended a history major.
My second realization is that I became the overworked, overburdened teacher I am today in an attempt to avoid responsibility. I was feeling out a career in photojournalism – that is if you call working for a college newspaper and developing photos for a commercial photographer feeling out a career. The teaching program application deadline was looming and I found another great gig – sorting slides for a stock photographer for $10.00 an hour. And he paid me cash. While they were not working together, I found pressure from both my girlfriend (now my wife!) and my dad to just apply and get it done. In her generous attempts to help me out, my girlfriend even typed up my application. All I had to do was answer a series of reflection questions and get it in on time. Well, I got part of it in on time, and the second part was submitted a couple weeks later (after they had already started the placement process). Needless to say, with an incomplete application I didn’t get accepted. Then one day I got a message from the teaching program – a position had opened up at a middle school, do I want it? No way, I wanted to teacher high school – I had no desire to teach middle school. Plus, I had this great job sorting slides right now. After a little reflecting, I called right back and accepted the position. Apparently, the program I just joined had an emphasis on technology integration three of the classes were taught by this Bernie Dodge guy. Thus my fate was sealed. Bernie would hire me for the next five summers to work on the Triton-Patterns Grants, the principal that hired me had first hand knowledge of the program I went through, and I eventually joined the Ed Tech masters program that had been a partner in the teaching credential program. Avoiding responsibility seems to have stuck me with more of it.