I chose the title for my blog with great sincerity. “Reflect to Redirect” wasn’t just a thing to say – it was a commitment I made to myself. Who knows why I haven’t been reflecting like I promised myself I would. It seems necessary to write to actually commit yourself to a particular reflection of life. Though I think about what is happening and what it might mean daily, my failure to write down these thoughts makes it challenging to develop any real understanding of those things that touch my life. So, with that said… what is happening and what does it mean?
For the last many months I have been learning to swim in deep waters. Challenges have always appealed to me, so inviting or accepting big projects and work hasn’t been so strange. The strange part of these new challenges has been deciding if I’m worthy of the work. It may sound a bit crazy, but people who are normally very self-confident wonder if they’ll be discovered for the terrified impostor they are. I remember thinking this way just after college. It’s such a terrible and wonderful experience. You want so much to prove yourself to others. Yet, you don’t realize that the person you most want to impress is yourself. This time around I realized that. And I’m so happy to say that I’m doing better than I did twenty years ago. I have focused on quietening those doubting voices with work. Anytime I thought I was unworthy of a particular task, I simply learned my way through it. Arming myself with knowledge has been critical for me to swim in these deep waters. I may not be the best or fastest swimmer, but I’m not sinking.
So, what challenges have I invited or accepted? Developing and implementing a 21st Century Learners initiative for my school system is one challenge I invited. With a group of unbelievable leaders, we are making great progress in Talladega County, Alabama. Our TCBOE21 wiki tells some of the story. We hope the rest of the story will be told online soon in the protocol developed for integrating 21st Century skills with content standards. It’s exciting work that continues to push me. Also, I accepted the challenge to write about the future of teaching. The Center for Teaching Quality has initiated this TeacherSolutions 2030 project. Twelve teachers from across the nation are collaborating on this book to be published in Spring 2010. Talk about digging deep! I swam all over the place searching for truths and perspectives about the teaching profession. While I am still working with this amazing group on our final product, I have great conviction that my voice needs to be heard. Furthermore, I accepted a challenge to support ten schools in the state of Alabama working to become 21st Century demonstration sites. The Alabama Best Practices Center initiated the spectacular professional development that impacted me. What a thrill I have had to support the work that is having such a tremendous impact in our state.
So, what does all of this mean? I think it means I can do what I really want to do. Now, that’s not so supergrand to someone else, but it means a great deal to me. The peaceful, easy feeling the Eagles sang about applies here for me. I love that I look ahead at bigger, grander things and feel empowered. I have been blessed beyond measure with opportunities and gifts. I want so much to leave the world better. There is so much I can’t solve or do, but it is so wonderful to know that I can do what I can do.
I may take a break from writing from time to time. I just don’t need to take a break from doing whatever I can do to make my little part of the world better. I don’t have to be Michael Phelps to show I can swim in the deep water.