Waiting in the Spokane airport for my flight to Seattle makes me think of community. I’m heading home from an NCCE board retreat, and I’m just trying to capture my feelings about where I am professionally. I’m also ready to go home for game night with friends and Mike, but a little blogging first.
One of my job roles is working with secondary teacher leaders, a community of teachers that “get it.” Our TIFs (Technology Integration Facilitators) are asked to leader their colleagues in professional learning surrounding technology integration.
Oftentimes they are working past their normal day, setting aside papers to grade and lesson plans to construct. so that they can help their friends use technology effectively with students. They stand up at staff meetings to share ideas or lead discussion that could get tense (technology, after all, can bring out frustrations). I look forward to our meetings so much because this group keeps me connected to schools and helps us focus on work on what will support teachers and students. And – at the end of the day – it’s fun.
I’m also with a community of NCCE superstars known as the Board of Directors. This is my last year on the board, as my term as president is coming to an end on June 30 (also my birthday). I was elected in 2012 as the middle school rep, with 2 years later moving into the president role. This team of educators are professional, fun, energetic, committed, and eager to serve. We laugh together when something is funny, ask questions when something is challenging, and aren’t afraid to dive in. This group has allowed me to the room to develop my leadership style, and I’m grateful for the 5 years I’ve been with them. I trust them and value their commitments to education. It was a bitter-sweet weekend for me (our annual retreat); I’m going to miss this group and I’m going to welcome some freedom in my schedule.
My other community is my team. I’ve written about them before, and this time I’m going to mention them in light of teamwork. One project we all share is meting with our teacher leaders and their administrator in their buildings. It’s a chance to review the professional learning plans our TIFs create and to facilitate a discussion with their administrator. This fall we are doing them in pairs as a way to introduce our new members to the process. This has provided the opportunity for good conversations and introspection about our beliefs and values. It’s as much a professional learning time for us as it is a support meeting for the teachers we support. These meetings invigorate me and challenge me to be better facilitator.
These last weeks have been busy, with teacher leader meetings, make up sessions for new teachers, cap tech levy planning, and a full day with Jennifer Donahoo talking about collective efficacy. Busy, challenging, meaningful, purposeful community-focused work.
Now I’m heading home to laugh and play with my community of friends, an act that will ultimately make me a better teacher. We all need support, and our communities help us be the best “us” we can be. That’s nothing new or surprising, but a reminder to me to seek out communities that will challenge me to be a better and more authentic version of myself.