After serving two years as a school based Technology Integration Specialist, I have decided to return to the classroom full time. This decision was difficult to make but I am certain that it is the best move for me at this time.
Several years ago I began to think that working with teachers in the area of technology integration would be ideal work for me. I pursued and was granted a position as a Technology Integration Specialist and took the bull my the horns. But the bull threw me in a million other directions. As the school Title I coordinator as well, my days were filled with federal programs paperwork, documentation collection to satisfy school improvement requirements, and other such tasks. I felt like I had to fight to do the work I longed to do. I realized something very important. It’s what I have to offer teachers and students that is important. It’s not important WHERE I am when I offer it. If I can be more effective someplace else doing the work I love, I should go there. And so I did.
A few people have asked me about the position I left. It’s similar to a classroom teacher’s role in that there are dozens of tasks that must be completed that you never dreamed had to be done or have any idea how to do. But it’s not similar to a teacher in that you assume varying degrees of responsibility for other teachers growth and performance. I actually liked all of that. As Malcolm Gladwell says, satisfying work must be autonomous, complex, and involve a relationship between effort and reward for work well done. Unfortunately, the great majority of my work was quite tedious, straightforward and simple, with virtually no feedback or reward at all. In fact, most days I wondered why I was doing what I was doing other than being told that I “have to.” I never felt that way in the classroom.
Teaching is autonomous, complex, and filled with the most amazing relationship between effort and reward of any work I know. I am so grateful for a renewed energy and commitment to the work I love and can’t wait for the challenges it provides. Teachers are the architects of tomorrow’s progress. I’m so glad I am going back to the future to help build a better one!