My number one goal as a teacher, and now as an administrator, has been to prepare students for what’s next. Whatever that may be. Whenever that occurs. It could easily be a skill needed in the next grade level or an understanding of the world that will help them in life. The content itself, I loved and could talk endlessly about any of the many subjects I taught, but it served as a vehicle to my greater purpose. It also continues to be the driving force behind my belief that meaningful and relevant technologies should be integrated into the classroom.
When I taught AP World History, I could have probably worked my students a lot harder and maybe more of them would have passed the AP exam. Not that the class I taught wasn’t rigorous or that it didn’t provide a good foundation for them to be successful on that high stakes exam, but I also didn’t let the test constrict every moment or the spirit of the class. It was never our singular purpose. We took time to discuss current events, apply skills to content that wouldn’t show up on the exam, do simulations, collaborate, and have fun. At the end of each year, the students walked out of my class improved writers, empowered, appreciating history, understanding the bigger context, and better prepared for their next challenge. They were part of the class community I built and fostered each year. Most of them passed, but many didn’t. I’m sure those who didn’t pass wished they had, but it did not define their experience.
And it didn’t matter subject area or level of student.
As I have moved out of the classroom and into a support role, I have the opportunity to influence more students through the culmination of my passion of technology and my purpose. When I interviewed for the job (Director of Instructional Technology) last October, I remember saying something to that effect – this is the job I’ve been working towards since I started teaching. I loved teaching (and miss it terribly), but I have a desire to lead more classes into the 21st century than I could do while working as a teacher.
I’ve been lucky to get to develop, grow, and evolve doing what I love. It motivates me and inspires me to do more.