This year has been quite possibly the craziest year of my life. The first life changing moment came when my wife gave birth to our son named Jack. He is our third child and second boy. We did not find out the gender of any of our children and each time it was as miraculous as the first. I watched the miracle of birth in action all three times and after every time I wanted to go hug every woman who had a child and tell them how truly heroic they were.
The second milestone that I hit was receiving my second Master’s degree in administration. Degrees don’t mean people are actually smarter than anyone else. However, they do open doors that were previously locked. I never thought I would go the administration route. I was not born to wear a suit to work every day. I do not want or need power over people. What I do see is a problem with the school system the way it is. I see teachers at odds with administrators. I see the public skeptical of a school system that seems antiquated. I see people of color fed up with a society that does not seem to value them. I see people complaining about transforming education but doing very little to change it.
I will bring a new attitude to the ranks of administration. I will push for my school to honor the individuality of the student as well as the needs of the community. I will highlight the research that shows how movement inside and outside the classroom is the key to the creation of new brain cells as well as the lessening of negative behaviors. In short I will, “Be the change that I wish to see in the world.” (Ghandi) The most effective way to implement change is from the administration side of the rope.
The third change in my life was finding Twitter and Voxer. Twitter chats allow me to meet new people and keep up with old friends. I am able to see experts on various topics and get a window into how different schools are run. The chats are great but very superficial. Twitter also offers me the opportunity to get links to articles and blogs that help refine and reflect on my pedagogy. Twitter is the gateway drug social media. It gives you a taste of what being connected can do for you.
If Twitter is the gateway drug than Voxer is the heroin and crack of social media. Voxer hooked me up with the top physical education teachers in the world. Teachers who are using technology and best practices that are light years ahead of what I am seeing in the classroom. Voxer also has chats that probe much deeper than Twitter. There are no 140 character limits. The only limit on Voxer is stop talking when you start to ramble. I find Voxer chats to really delve very deeply into the issue. The voice inflection part of Voxer also allows everyone to really hear the full message of what is being intended. Jokes and sarcasm (my favorite) are much easier to pick up on as well.
That is not the best part of Voxer though. The best part for me are the book clubs that have been started. We had a book club on Digital Leadership that Eric Sheniger actually participated in! Rafranz Davis participated in a book club for her book Missing Voices in Edtech as well. She was able to expound upon the chapters and really give us pushback during our discussions. This week ten people will be interviewing Don Wettrick about his book Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level on Voxer. Another book club that really pushed my thinking was Thanks for the Feedback. The group of people who participated really forced me to justify my statements. Douglas Stone, the author, participated in a Voxer discussion at the end of the book. I am currently in a Voxer group that is dissecting the book Beyond the Bake Sale. Another reason to love Voxer!
Voxer has really pushed me thinking to amazing heights this year.
As I reflect on the year I come to one long conclusion. My professional development has gone through the roof and I really need to hone in on the best pedagogical approach for me. I have learned so much this year only to realize I have so far to go. This year has exhausted me, excited me, and allowed me to realize the only thing stopping me from greatness is me. What about you?
Q1: What is the biggest change you need to make next year? #slowchatpe
Q2: What was the best pd you attended/participated in this year? #slowchatpe
Q3: Who did you become connected with that blew your mind? #slowchatpe
Q4: What will you be doing this summer to improve your pedagogy? #slowchatpe
Q5: How do you reflect on your year? #slowchatpe