Why Go Back?
Let me begin by saying that I haven’t watched Jerry Maguire recently and that this writing is based purely on personal reflection and not an extravagant attempt to bring life to a mission statement regarding educational leadership. This post is my declaration that my leadership discernment and practice as a resource teacher in 21C has taken a new life – one that embraces the dangers of the pseudo-expert and consequentially yearns for authentic and active practice. So, what does this all mean? Although I have been renewed for an additional three year term as a system resource teacher, I have humbly and enthusiastically accepted the opportunity to return to the ever important and heroic role of the classroom teacher. Trust, when I say that my excitement/nerves are palpable. I am eager to put into practice experience and to learn from a new and great teaching community with the sincere hope to have a positive impact on student learning.
A New Path
The journey to this point has been inspiring. From the classroom to the system, my professional learning and growth has been accelerated – it has been a breathless ride. As part of a dynamic team of educators who are working to support a change in teaching and learning through 21st Century Skills and Technology, the opportunity to contribute, initiate, and extend what I believed in as an educator was a blessing. As a Communications Technology teacher my efforts with students was to scaffold a learning environment that initiated student voice, ignited curiosity, and brought to life knowledge through creative and technical application. My concern was not about potential student career paths or even post -secondary studies but more importantly the ability to nurture a love of learning and to use new skills and knowledge in transferable and far-reaching ways.
Bird’s Eye View
This volition motivated me to accept the opportunity to work at the system level. Instead of working with students, my hope was to collaborate with teachers to support promising practice and to share my love of what education could be. To my pleasure, I had the opportunity to join forces with many like-minded individuals and have achieved great professional and personal success. Whether it was my extensive/intimate work with all levels of eLearning or supporting the inclusion of new media within a cross curricular milieu, the time has been professionally and personally rewarding on so many levels. In many ways, my role as a resource teachers was to be a provocateur – challenge, motivate and build conversation around new thinking. I suppose I have come to the point where I want provocation to be supported by self-directed action. This is really about me – thus with all of the incredibly good – turbulence did arise.
Back to Reality
Over the course of this past year and with conversations about my potential post-resource interests, I began to come to the realization that I was teetering on the side of the pseudo-expert (the turbulence). The pseudo-expert (Google and explore) is someone that is not authentically entrenched, active or practicing that is which they present in theory. Like the phenomenon of pseudo science where a Google search “makes” someone a medical professional, a dangers rests when a perceived expertise is not intentionally challenged in thinking, design or implementation. It is with the “pseudo” as married to both my leadership discernment and role as a 21C resource teacher that I felt a professional need to return to the trenches. So many personal and reflective questions came to mind that fueled my active thinking.
How can I continue to be a 21C resource if I’m not actively practicing what I believe?
How can I be a potential administrator without living more time in the classroom/school?
How could I be a legitimate instructional leader if I haven’t authentically lived the challenges and realities of those I wish to serve?
Beyond the “pseudo” I went into teaching from a creative career in film and new media with the goal to have a positive impact on student learning and share my love of film, new media and technology studies. This is something that I have missed – and I am exhilarated to put into practice all of my new learning and experiences. In many ways, I am anxious to see what will authentically and tangibly work, won’t work and what will need to be evolved.
In the end (or rather beginning), this journey has been inspiring. I have made fantastic friends, collaborated with amazing people and supported system goals and initiatives – great things are happening. From all of this, my greatest fear when moving from the classroom to the system was “losing touch” with the real successes, challenges and lived realities of the everyday teacher. I feel that I have started to lose that touch – and hence it is time to become reacquainted with my profession in the most intimate of ways. Now, it is time to put all my experience (and so called expertise) to the test. Am I a pseudo- expert?
I hope not for the students’ sake.
Let the journey begin…