Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Always More To Do

Last week we took a team to tour the iPad Academy at Bellevue Public Schools. I have been looking at this program from the outside for a number of years. This is a program that I have greatly admired from afar. From the planning, to the execution, to the coaching of teachers, the support for teachers, everything about this program is so well thought out. So I was kind of prepared for how I might feel when I actually got to see it in action. And I was right.

I felt so inadequate! It became very clear, very quickly that I am not doing nearly enough to support my teachers. Now, I am not writing this post to have people tell me, "Oh Mickie. You are doing a great job." The purpose of this post is to reflect on what I saw and how I can improve. If you don't think there is any way for you to improve in what you are doing, why are you still doing it? We can always get better.

One piece of the Bellevue model that I love is the classroom coaching. I love that their tech integration specialists work right alongside the teachers, in the trenches so to speak. They are available to plan with the teacher. They can co-teach a lesson or model a lesson for the teacher. I love this approach. I have done some of this with a few teachers. I love planning a lesson with a teacher whether the teacher then executes the lesson or I come in and teach the lesson. I have assisted teachers in introducing Seesaw and Chromebooks. I am getting ready to teach a lesson on searching for images in 3rd and 4th grade. I loved working with the teachers to develop a lesson that was right for their students. As a high school teacher by trade, I do need a little help when it comes to explaining things to elementary students. Working with the classroom teachers I can do the technology piece and they bring the content. I would love to be able to do more of this.

Another thing that I witnessed at Bellevue was the connection the teachers and the tech integration specialists had. It takes time to build a relationship. I believe I have gotten better at that over the six years I have had this position. There is always room to grow in this area. I hope that teachers know that they can reach out to me and that I will help them with whatever they need. And the teachers that I have worked closely with over the last six years know that. But how do I get that message out to the rest of the teachers? What more could I do to build relationships?

I could go on and on with the things I saw at Bellevue that I wished I was doing a better job of here. Things like student creation, blended learning, flexible seating, risk taking, failing forward.

I said in a presentation I gave last month that I have the best job in our district because I get to work with all of our amazing teachers. And that is so true! And because I have so many amazing teachers to work with, it makes me want to work harder for them. We should always keep learning, always keep stretching, always keep growing. When you stop wanting to do those things, it is time for you to move on. Fortunately, I have a great PLN (including the Tech Trio at Bellevue) who continue to push me to want to do more, to want to do better. So rather than feeling inadequate, I have decided that my job is simply unfinished. There is always more to do and I need to get to work!