We're often told that we must differentiate for our students. We are told that we have to make lessons relevant to their experiences and needs. We must meet them where they are. But do we offer those same accommodations to our teachers? The other day I had an agenda planned out for a meeting with a group of dedicated educators. However, one of the teachers was having a rough day and needed some encouragement. Instead of going on with the planned agenda, the four of us brainstormed ideas that could help with her issue. It was funny because each of them apologized several times for going off topic, but I assured them that the topic at hand was way more important than what I had planned, and it was. I'm not writing this as a pat on my back, but as a warning that we must listen to our teachers. We must differentiate and give them what they need as well. Educators are so involved making sure that we stay within the scope and sequence, that content is covered by a certain time, that the kids are ok... but how often do we really and truly take a moment to make sure that the adults in the building are ok as well. I once saw a phrase that said "If you don't feed the teachers, they will eat the students." If we don't work to meet the emotional and academic needs of our educators, they are unable to meet the same needs in our students. Ok. Stepping off of my soapbox now.
So, I kind of started over...again! I left my old district in search of a change. A change that would make me feel as if I were actually impacting education every way I wanted. I liked working for a university. As an outside contractor in schools, I was able to do my job and go home. But I forgot one thing--relationships are my thing. While I was able to build some long-lasting relationships with teachers at my school, I was only there a few days a week. I never felt truly part of the school.
As I waited to see if our contract would be renewed, I started looking at other positions in the metro area. I had always wanted to work in Atlanta, but I didn't think that would be possible. I mean, EVERYONE wants to work in Atlanta. I applied, and I actually kind of forgot about it. Again, the likelihood of me getting a call was slim, right? Wrong. About a month or so after I applied, I got an email asking me to interview for a site-based Instructional Technology Specialist. I researched the school, called a few friends, and the consensus was I'd be crazy not to as least try. So, I did. I went into the interviews thinking that I wouldn't get the job, but at least the experience would be great. I mean, I had a job I liked. Then, I interviewed. The first interview was with Instructional Technology. The interviewers were AMAZING! It felt like I was talking to old friends (probably because I had been Twitter stalking some of them for years), and I loved the vision for the position. I went home feeling great but waiting to see if the principal of the school chose to interview me. Soon, that interview came as well. Again, I went in thinking I wouldn't get the job, but that was ok. I had a job. UNTIL I walked into Inman. As soon as I met the principal and the panel, I wanted that job. So much so that for the first time ever, I froze in an interview. I was able to answer the questions, but I left feeling as if I might have left something off. I was devastated because I thought I had missed my chance to work in the absolute best school ever for me. Long story short (a little late for that, I know), I was blessedly wrong!
So now, I'm the ITS for one of the most amazing places I've ever been. I was teary-eyed in the new employee orientation as the fabulous superintendent outline a philosophy that was so in sync with my own. The staff at my school is brilliant. Pulitzer prize winning author? We've got that. Dedicated educators with not only a plethora of advanced degrees and experience but also a love for education. They actually CARE. A lot. I now work with people who like me care more about the whole child than they do test scores (ours are great, by the way), and I work with a leader who is a dedicated to incorporating technology as I am. Google certifications. An aggressive plan for being one to one, and a joint vision of being THE 21st century school. I am so excited to be an Eagle and I can't wait to share my adventure with you!