Where To Go, What To Do, My Next Mission

There’s been a lot of talk in the edublogosphere about possibly leaving the classroom for higher-level positions, consulting, and the like. The discussion continues to challenge me about my practice, my career, my future and my mission more than ever. I’ve been seeking direction on a personal level since I became an empty-nester, so it follows that I would do it professionally as well.

I have some possible long-range goals and have previously made some attempts to move toward reaching them, i.e. trying out online teaching, considering new degrees, considering changing fields, working for corporations who serve education and the field of educational technology, etc. I’ve encountered dead ends thus far. (All my readers, friends, colleagues and family have suffered at least a little from my frustration and disappointment in this area. Sorry about that!)

However, I haven’t given up and I definitely haven’t decided to pursue any certain course of action yet. I’m still hopeful. And I’m still defining short-term goals in the meantime.

Right now I’m reflecting, planning, dreaming, and scheming on how I can best use this gift of an extra month off that’s coming to me this summer. The budget determines that I must work at something this year since I did take last summer off completely. That’s a reality. I would like to do something more meaningful or more career-building than just teach summer school, though I may do that, too. At times I think I should get a brainless minimum wage job with adults only, but that’s a short-sighted attitude that I know is frivolous.

As far as careers in educational technology, I predict there will not be huge or earth-shattering steps forward (in most American states) toward embedded technology for learning or improved achievement until our national obsession with test scores, and test scores alone, has played itself out. We have yet to see the full impact of NCLB and it’s wily twists and turns. I’m all for data-driven instruction; I’m just not sure high-stakes testing should be our only priority. Certainly that issue has been endlessly debated by much brighter minds than mine. Still, I don’t sense that a plethora of schools are looking to add technology coordinator jobs or training professionals. If any of you readers have ideas, disagreements, or counsel about that, I would welcome same.

I undoubtedly have my educator heroes who do great work here in the States and there are some luminaries out there: Wes Fryer, CoolCatTeacher, Tim Tyson, Will Richardson, Bud The Teacher, Mr. Moses, Dave Warlick, Scot Elias, and several others. They are my inspiration and they model for me professionalism, community, collegiality, excellent practice, and total commitment to our cause. If any of them read this: THANK YOU! You keep me going when I think my professional desert will dessicate me completely! (I also garner much from some overseas folks whom I will mention from time to time.)

I hope upon hope that I will be able to not only tap into some of that online goodness these people share with us, but also contribute something of value to it. I am still learning how to network and collaborate online with my cohorts around the world. I am clumsy and I do it in fits and starts. I’m not sure if my efforts are laughable or progressing. I’m rarely sure if I’m connecting or offending. I know my blogging attempts are pure fumbling in the dark right now. Does everyone start this way or am I just inept? In the past I thought I was pretty socially savvy, but this online community-building is very different. That course I took a few years about online teaching, learning, and leading doesn’t seem to be doing me much good…. Believe it or not, I am presently reading Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence, and I may write a post about that in the future. I’m sure that future communications online will be cogent, inspiring, winsome, and brilliant.

For today, all I can do is bloom where I am planted, keep my ear out for opportunities, try to serve others, learn, blog, teach, Tweet, and continue to fight the good fight. Most of all, I can trust in Him to lead me.

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