Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Conflict of Thinking Big Thoughts


Over the past few weeks, I've been pondering my place in the world. Specifically in the Education and EdTech world.  To be clear, I love my job and I LOVE my district.  I don't want to leave. I've just been thinking about my impact on others and feeling a pull to make a larger impact.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about new teacher education.  Are our new teachers effectively prepared for this new education paradigm?  On some level, it's impossible to be fully ready to step into a classroom for the first time.  You just can't recreate all the feelings that come on that first first day.  In addition, there's no way to prepare preservice teachers because we have an awesome concept here in Texas - local control.  Each local school district has certain freedoms within our state Essential Knowledge and Skills standards.  So, the very idea of effectively preparing preservice teachers become muddied.

Which brings me back to the district level. How do districts effectively screen and hire new teachers? How can they insure that the teacher will fit in to the campus community? Can the addition of this new staff member impact other teachers? Can he or she encourage positive change on campus?
Then comes the idea of training and integrating the new teacher into the school environment.  Do we give new teachers enough information before the first day? Is there a mentor system in place? Are our expectations clear?

This is just one example of my big thoughts.  Others include how to personalize learning for each student, how to effectively use technology in the classroom, how to balance curriculum, how to provide a better learning environment for special needs kids (here's a hint, it goes back to personalizing learning), what is important to teach kids, can we decrease the number of required standards and still produce future ready kiddos? Then I have big thoughts for things I'd like to see happen in my school and in my district.  Lots and lots of thoughts going on...

The conflict comes when these thoughts crash into real life.  As I've already said, I love my job and my district.  But I do desire to make a larger impact in education.  How can I make a larger impact, serve more people within my current life.  I'm first and foremost a momma.  A momma of 3 busy boys.  2 who are involved in a wide variety of activities and 1 with special needs.  I have an awesome husband that supports me in all my endeavors.  But the truth is our family takes 2 leaders.  I'm away from my boys (husband and dogs included here - everyone at my house is a boy except me) about as much as I can stand right now.  I try to space out my absences.  My absences makes life complicated.  My house stays about as messy as I can stand.  Right now there are dishes in the sink and clothes on the living room coffee table.  Papers are all over the living room as B's current obsession is writing and drawing and he must start with a clean piece of paper each time.  I've learned to let go of some of my OCD about the house being perfect looking in order to free up time.

So, my real question is: how to answer the pull of big thoughts when you really love the life you have? I understand how people follow the pull when they are unhappy.  How do you add when you don't want to subtract?

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