I don’t know if I am coming, going, halfway there, digging a hole, or building something special. I have pushed myself to overcome many deadlines and expectations over the last 18 months. In the end, or what we can temporarily call the end, it has been tremendously worthwhile. I am speaking about my graduate program at Lamar University finishing, but I am also talking about so much more. In the last few weeks I sold the home that my wife and I purchased before our marriage and have brought two children home to. I ended my first year in a brand new position that has me incredibly excited to continue as an innovator. As a coach I saw a lacrosse season end in a way that hurt so much, that it shifted my mindset on how I will forever approach coaching. A few weeks ago, I talked about my Whirlwind. Washington D.C. was amazing and it was an incredible honor to be honored as a Schools to Watch for the state of NJ. The last week also brought the end to time away from my family. Daddy Daycare is in session, and boy it feels good!
Then, today, I saw my son struggle to focus, struggle to balance, struggle to do many things for an evaluation. My wife and I were able to enroll him in a program for additional therapy to improve on his lacking skills. Watching him today made me realize why I do everything I do and why I pursue my lofty goals in education. I want my children to be prepared for their world. If a decade ago, I ponder if my son would have just been pegged as a kid who wouldn’t be good at sports and to focus on academics. Twenty years ago, I predict he would have been ridiculed and harassed. Today? All of those stigmas are still alive and well. I know he will struggle to make friends, and it breaks my heart. I absolutely know he will be teased, he will be laughed at, and he will likely need the aide of a strong teacher to overcome the social beast of education. He will need an empathetic leader who will see the greatness in him. I foreshadow tears from my wife, my loyal blog subscriber. I find connecting with my personal life is what enables me to connect with those I impact, learners of all ages. Because of this, my innovation project has been focused on how our teachers learn, otherwise known as professional learning.
Too often, teachers are thrown a series of topics, expected to follow through, and support is non-existent. I cannot afford to roll the dice on the teachers my children will get. I do not want to “hope” for the “good” ones in the grade level. No, I want to help everyone attain a level of comfort in their classrooms so that no matter which room you are in, every child’s experience will be one that prepares and benefits them for their future. Lofty goal, right? Well, why settle for mediocrity is my response. To help explain how I plan on changing the future, I have set up a page that lays out a snapshot of the projects I worked on during my coursework. Additionally, a few things were created on my own to assist my district. My Innovation Project: A Focus on Professional Learning is laid out in stages.
I started the page with my initial projects in the program and a few that I had previously created. As it progresses, you will see that I was fortunate to follow through with my innovation plan as scheduled. Success was attained, and struggles were as real as ever! What I found interesting was that adaptions to my plan were fluid and didn’t appear as failures, even though at times they were. I think this helped me. The main principle of all the projects is that I was in charge, I was the change, and that I could lead innovation. The glue that held me together wasn’t because my ideas were cool or trendy, it was because it is what is right for kids! I had to adapt and evolve with my audience. I know teachers want the best for kids, they just needed help to realize that kids are living in a completely different world. We can no longer say, “In my day, we were just fine with a….” Their day is what matters! The beauty is that my audience was not a professor, my audience was the staff and students in my work environment. Centering my attention around my learners and not myself is what allowed me the most success. As stated a few weeks ago, in my epic reflection, the Digital Learning and Leading program changed me. I see things differently now. I am just as wild and crazy with my ideas, but I make sure that I provide the support needed to make things comfortable for those who may not yet see the future for what it is. My innovation projects now come one after another. I keep them manageable, but I continue to dream big. Watch out in 2017-2018 as I instill physical computing in grades K-6 in my district!
Like most of my posts, my title speaks for itself. I want to lead by example. My actions speak louder than the words that I could continue to write and that is why I hope you look through my work and see how much can be accomplished in 18 months. Please share this post or retweet the link. I don’t need page hits, I need others realizing that they can do the same thing!
Thanks Lamar University!