Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Big Push

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in a professional development training with teachers who have been teaching for a very, very long time. They are professional in all that they do. Most in the group teach high school juniors and seniors. And most have been using the same instructional strategies that they were using ten to fifteen years ago. And now, their principal is saying things have got to change. 

The level of anxiety and stress that wore on these teachers' faces brought back my own memories when this same principal challenge my instructional practices and told me that my methods needed to adapt to meet the needs of today's learners. 

I felt like I was being shoved into the deep end of a pool and holding on to dear life. 

She's flirting with the deep end by Mayr

So many questions ran through my mind...Where do I start with integrating technology? Will I have to change every lesson that I ever created? How will I find the time to learn to do what my principal wants me to do and still grade papers? What if the technology I planned to use, flops and fails? What will I do then? Why do I have to change? Isn't what I'm doing already good enough? 

While those are valid questions, I was missing the bigger picture. My questions were very self-focused. The push for change altered my focus from the students to my own professional survival. 

If it hadn't been for the support of my colleagues who were also being pushed into the deep end, and the confidence of my principal that I could indeed become a 21st Century teacher, I'm not sure I would have ever let go of the metaphoric pool ledge. 

That was six years ago and now I'm the district's technology integration specialist. I now have the privilege of supporting these teachers who are reluctant to adapting their teaching methods. I'm sure that the lessons that I learned over the years will prove to be applicable as I work with my colleagues. 

One day at a time.
One lesson at a time.
One change at a time. 

Offering my BEST to you,

What were the circumstances of the last big professional growth you experienced? What/who helped you to survive and thrive?

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