July 17, 2013

Why I Stay

I read this article that Melissa Lim @actionhero tweeted out:
10 Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You - Forbes ow.ly/mYJld via @milobo and it got me thinking. (very dangerous)

At the time of much movement and cuts in positions and reorganization of staffing, schools, and districts, I have asked myself, Why do I stay?
It's not like I haven't had plenty of opportunities to do so and haven't explored them. I have and none panned out, but I haven't asked why. I think I know. Let me explain.

1) I love working with children. Actually, I love the innocence they have and the thrill of learning new things and then being silly enough to use it ad nauseum. They do it because they want to really know it. I find adults are the same way. You give them a new tool and they fixate on it until they understand it. I love seeing that process and being able to partake in it.

2) I love working with adults. Yes, it does get annoying when I answer the same question from 40 different people, but none of them know the answer and that is why they ask. I like seeing the processes they go through to incorporate new ideas into their already-stuffed heads. I had the opportunity to show a colleague the features of Google Hangouts. She needed an alternative to getting substitutes for teachers and thought an online component of PD would work. She was over the moon when I shared Hangouts. We walked through the features I knew and what we could access on the district network. She gave constructive feedback on our time together: Focused objectives, technical enough to describe the tools and still be willing to try it on her own, very humourous banter, and enough information to still be excited to use it. Very rewarding feedback.

3) I love what I do. In high school, I was the IT department and grade level tutor. In my family, I am the resident all-round geek. So, it is not new to blend IT and CI, hardware and software, tool and application. I love the not-knowing-why-something-doesn't-work then trying to figure it out. I love working with those who don't know why they can't do something, but after many questions and probing what they do know, THEY figure it out. That gives me a thrill and a sense of satisfaction that is beyond compare.

4) I strongly dislike change just to change. Moving would have hampered the progress that I have made with many teachers and stunted the growth of educational technology in my district. (bold of me to say so? Yep!) I have a role to play and I need to make sure that without a doubt I am done with it and I can't do any more. I don't have that feeling yet. Have I wanted to give up? Yes. Have I felt as though I have nothing more to give? Yes. Is there more to do to help students and teachers be better in whatever they do? Yes.
It is not time to move.

As summer ends with two Arizona K12 Center Camp Plug and Play sessions and ISTE 2013 under my belt and the invitation to present at a fall conference, I have gained a confidence I haven't had before. It also helps to have an awesome district EdTech team and an unofficial mentor who pushed me to do my best this last school year as well as a new group of people who believe in me.

Without those things in place, I couldn't say this and believe it:

I make a BIG difference. 
I matter
Do you believe in yourself?
If you don't, no one else will.

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