Life is unexpected. Just when you think you’ve crested a hill and can look long at the path stretching before you, opportunity arises and you find yourself taking a road unanticipated. I won’t say I’ve taken the one less traveled by, but I have taken another.
Today, I officially began my job as the Director of Technology and Communications in Oak Lawn-Hometown District 123. It is a role about which I am incredibly excited. Because there’s great opportunity here. And I earnestly believe I can seize it.
I’d like to say I’m beginning this position with a long list of answers sitting at the ready for implementation. But that would be a dishonesty. Because at this point, I have more questions than answers. I’m hoping, however, that the right questions can prove more powerful than me thinking I have the right answers. I’m hoping such for what it could mean for our students, our staff, and our community. And what it could mean for learning.
It seems to me as I’ve observed the advent of modern technology increasing in utilization in education, there has grown a rift between those in the Director of Technology role and many of the others in an educational institution. Somehow the two sides seem to be at odds. Neither understands the other. As it is most often manifested, the one side is prone to thinking in terms of restricting what takes place in the technological environment, while the other side believes those running the technological environment know very little about education. I know I’m speaking in broad generalities, but it is what I have observed in many places.
I don’t want that to be my case.
I was a classroom teacher for eight years before I left one of the most incredibly rewarding professions in the hopes of making a difference on a broader scale. However, I learned quickly that there is little more rewarding than directly investing in the lives of students in a classroom each day. It is simply an amazing endeavor. I left that not to take a position where my actions matter little to the experience of students and those who are working so hard to help them learn how to learn. I left teaching with the hope that I could make a difference in a different way.
It is now, standing once again on the edge of great new change, that I begin with questions. I’m hoping these are the right ones. Or at least the ones that will lead me to the right ones. And the right ones are those that will make a difference in the lives of the students, staff members, and community where I have the privilege to serve.
As is always the case, your input and help in crafting and molding both these questions and my potential to make a difference is extremely important to me. Here is my beginning.
1. How is what we’re doing with technology making a difference for learning?
2. How can we support teachers and do everything we can to help them help their students learn?
3. How can we support teachers as they continue to learn?
3. Does the environment we create build trust?
4. How can we communicate more effectively and better meet the needs of our community?
5. Are we reliable?
6. Are we making a positive difference?
I hope these questions guide the work that I have ahead. And I hope I keep questioning the questions. And I know I will keep learning.