I often hear adults - myself included - telling kids about how things are going to be when they grow up. "When you grow up, you are going to have to..(insert specifically ordered process )... otherwise..(insert horrid consequence)....."
I am guilty. Guilty, guilty, guilty. This is fixed mindset, anti-COVA language. I am guilty of consequencing the choice and voice right out of my own children. Instead, I should be allowing them to live more in the world of the "why not; let's try it!" As I work on retraining my voice to encourage the spirit of exploration in my children, I want to ignite that same spirit of adventure and fearlessness in myself and my colleagues around me. I realize that I must first start with retraining my own brain (Sentis, 2012). That starts with knowing that I may not be there yet, but I do possess the ability to grow (Dweck, 2016).
Throughout this program, I have been able to shape and apply my learning as it applies to how I envision my leadership path. The ability to have agency in exploration and expression allows for my real-world application of what this program offers as we do it in real time. Having that ability to choose how we express ourselves in these courses allows me to practice the skills we are learning as we are learning them.
Succeeding in an academic environment has always been a struggle for me. The growth mindset has helped me to refocus my thoughts and come back to my mantra when attempts at organization, tasks, and focus become overwhelming. Reframing failure as growth opportunity has been key to my ability to being able to participate in this program. A big part of my growth experience has been opening myself up to failure. This program allows me to attempt to achieve success with relative anonymity. Texas is very far away.
Even though Texas may be physically many miles away, I do feel that our cohort has developed a sort of bond through our discussion boards. Our networks are growing. As I encounter people's Twitter handles and professional websites, I tend to follow them to add to my professional networks so that I can learn form my peers. Learning happens everywhere. Our professional networks reach around the world. You can read more about my PLN thoughts here.
But that is all about me and my personal guilt and growth..... What about how I really feel about the state of education? I believe that every teacher and student deserves to survive - physically and emotionally - the public education system that employs and/or educates them. You can watch my video and the token project that I am participating in to represent what school should look like here.
Dweck, C. S. (2016). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.
Sentis. (2012, November 06). Retrieved April 29, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELpfYCZa87g&feature=youtu.be
As part of my professional learning, I exist on Twitter @rpsitrt. I follow a number of leaders in education, lurk on edchats, and share instructional strategies and resources with my small number of followers. I also minimally exist on Facebook in the Lamar groups and am connected with a few key educators in my district, but mostly observe and not contribute on that platform.
I work in a department of approximately 20 Instructional Technology Resource Teachers. That group serves as one of my primary PLNs. We often reach out to one another to support, learn, and get ideas from each other on new and interesting ways to engage our teachers and students.
I consider the groups of teachers that I work with at each of my schools PLNs because we have established communities through which they receive a lot of information and support from me about instructional technology integration, and we have an ongoing conversation about needs, implementation, and success. We are at the point where some of them will now share cool tools with me because they know that I have the means to easily share out with a larger audience. They also like receiving the kudos and attribution (and usually some swag) for sharing a cool tool!
One of the opportunities that I have enjoyed and found extremely valuable is going to the Future of Eduction Technology Conference (FETC) a number of times. This conference has allowed me to network with educators and technology leaders from around the country to learn about what is new and what is working in education. I would recommend this conference to everyone.
Every year, my goal is to increase my participation and presence online - especially Twitter. There are such incredible conversations about the direction of education going on in that space.
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