I just finished teaching a week long course titled Digital Leadership to 14 teachers. I can’t describe how encouraging a week it was for me. I have read Eric Sheninger’s book of the same title. A course modeled exactly from the book would be beneficial for any educator, but especially administrators. I had zero administrators in my course. At the end of the week, the results my participants were sharing with me completely blew me away. I have asked permission to share a few reflections that they wrote on Friday. This is part 1. I really appreciate this reflection because it sounds like something I would have wrote just a short time ago. Even more touching for me, is that the author of this reflection, Mona Busiek, teaches next door to me at Blennerhassett Middle School.
One of the best things I’ve taken from this class is a professional “connectivity,” a cushion of teaching support I didn’t have before. I have been diligent about creating a wealth of material resources for myself, and I thought I had a good support system at school. However, my colleagues are, for the most part, a network of people I enjoying being with; we are not necessarily like-minded. PLCs have provided me with a positive, encouraging, motivating group of people who remind me of why I’m in the field and help me continue to press on toward my ultimate goal: being the best teacher I can be for my students.
What is the big picture? What do we want to ultimately achieve? How can I improve the learning environment? Do I need to redesign my classroom? What do my students need? How can I get to know them better? How can I help them to take responsibility for their own learning? Do I need to change the way I grade? Are there more engaging ways to teach? What changes can I make? What have always done that doesn’t make sense to keep on doing? What first “do-able” step can I take toward change? Where do I need to release control? How can I empower my students?–These are just a few of the questions I have been considering this week. (Actually, they have kept me awake at night!)
Not only have I been re-considering my students’ learning environment, but I’ve been considering how well we are working together as a staff. What steps can we make to strengthen our team? Our school? How can I improve peer-to-peer teaching? How can we connect better at school? What am I willing to give up myself in order to do what works better for our team?
Mid-week, I thought my brain might explode. Today, however, after a week of sharing with people face to face and online, I feel more relaxed. I am less afraid of failure because I’ve received multiple messages to try new things and accept failure as part of my journey. Always very near are my own personal cheerleaders, offering thoughts, keeping me balanced, and sharing practical advice that keeps me focused on the students–my inspiration and reason for pressing on.
8th Grade Reading
Blennerhassett Middle School