Lifelong learner. That’s what I like to think of myself as now. I mean, I’ve been more and more involved in the web2.0 activities and doing various things with the new technologies ever since my introduction to blogging a 9 or so months ago. I’ve developed and engaged some of the greatest educators around the globe, converse with them regularly via twitter and watch as their presentations at different events like the K12 online conference.
Yet, despite all this, there is still part of me that refuses to learn and accept that I have a role within the educational world both in my own division and in the larger global community. As an administrator, I am an educational leader for my staff. I have partly fulfilled this role as I navigate leading when needed and finding those around me who have skills that will allow them to lead while I provide the support they need. In this regard, I have become much better as an administrator.
Another part of me has had trouble navigating the line between full time teacher and principal. I’ve learned that there is a big difference between these two positions and will forever separate the two. As I watch the K12 online presentations, I have been thinking only of these tools from the view of a teacher. I have been trying to use them in my own class, searching for ways that they mashup with the currlculum to provide students with greater learning opportunities. This isn’t a bad thing but it is only a part of what I am.
As I watched Dean Shareski’s presentation on Design Matters and listened to other presentations from the conference, part of me was saying “Hey, I could do that!” Dean does a fantastic job of explaining the role that design plays in creation. Now, he’s a Digital Learning Consultant and this is his area of focus. So while I was thinking “I could do that”, part of me was saying “Like when?” It isn’t really part of your job. This is not what you do – you are a principal. Bing! the light went on.
You see, being an administrator means that I’m not a full-time teacher nor an IT coordinator. Yes, part of my job is to show teachers different methods of teaching and helping them to expand themselves and learn. But it isn’t necessarily a main portion of what I am asked to do. My main role, however mundane it may sound, is the overall operation of the school. From dealing with students and parents to supervising teachers and, yes, trying to catch the peeing bandit plus ordering and making sure maintenance is done to …….. As much as I sometimes wish I could do more with advancing technology, I realize that isn’t my main role.
So Now What?
As with all “ah ha!” moments, there is the time afterwards where the “So now what?” question looms. What it has meant for me is that I no longer feel guilty because I’m not doing what so many of my global colleagues are doing. In fact, it has refocused me and made me realize that I need to put my energies into using the technologies to help me administer and THEN share those experiences with the rest of the administrating world. My first project will be a time management presentation – because my TO DO list seems to increase exponentially through the day and I leave work with more to do than when I arrived. Maybe not – way boring!
I do think I will be focusing on how the tools of today can help administrators in keeping in touch with parents, students and community to build a better school community. Or maybe how to get administrators to collaborate over distances using the new technologies. Or maybe helping teachers differentiate their planning ….. whatever the choice, my role is as an administrator and that will frame what I do.