Monday, September 5, 2011

Director of Teaching and Learning -- Week One

What do you call a new position that when you describe it to your mother appears overwhelming, daunting, impossible, and uncontainable.  And yet, the challenge is exciting, the goals in line with my own vision of education and adult professional learning, my colleagues are ready for the direction this new position signifies, all of the elements are creatively related, and the opportunity is a good fit for me even as it will bring into high relief my own shortcomings?

Today I wrote a short description for a go to guide we are writing to help faculty navigate technology questions. My piece of this guide is just one part of a larger whole including our two Ed Tech Coordinators, our Director of Technology and our Director of Library Services. I am waiting to see what the others write and how they add too and edit what I have written. I expect there will be overlap between us, but our hope is to provide a structure that will enable the high fliers, adventurers, and early adopters; support the folks who are experimenting and following where others have gone before; and shorten the tail--that is get the  ostriches heads out of the sand.

Even as I work on this structure piece, I am very conscious of wanting to chart a course that will create opportunities for organic exploration and personal growth. Teachers can no longer wait for someone else to come along and tell them... do this. I am quite clear that this year we will not have in-service days filled with a single speaker talking at us. Indeed, I am hoping to offer a variation of the un-conference for our winter in-service. What a great concept, folks come together in the morning, generate a list of topics they want to explore or learn about, self divide and work together to answer their questions and/or learn new tools. The working assumption here is that professional teachers will act professionally when given the opportunity to shape their own learning.

Finally, a good practice I will need to remember to do when necessary--apologize quickly.  In rolling out last week’s opening of school meeting schedule, I forgot to communicate with one group in a targeted manner about who should facilitate the discussion. I need to make amends. This oversight was also an aha moment. Other groups meeting at the same time with similar tasks already had folks who assumed they were the facilitators. When I reached out to them to facilitate, they assured me they had already prepared for the meeting! So after I apologize I will need to work with this group to develop their own sense of ownership and realization that at any moment each of them could/should be ready to facilitate.

PS send me your descriptors for the question I posed at the beginning!