Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Who Am I?

This title to a recent contemporary Christian song has had new meaning for me this last week or so? Sunday, May 3, was my 48th birthday and I had much to think about. Three days before my birthday, my district boss and Director of Instructional Technology tells me that the district test coordinator position will be vacant because of retirement and he has told the Director of Assessment that I might be a suitable candidate. This was so out of the blue that I did not know what to say. I would certainly like to make more money, but all I have worked for over more than two decades has been to become a better teacher. Nowhere in anything that I had imagined had led me to this outcome. So being perplexed, I have prayed and pondered during the last week. I remember during my original job interview in 1986 for the chemistry teacher job at BLHS that I was asked if I considered myself a scientist or a teacher. As I was in the process of finishing my MS in chemistry in the area of organometallics, I answered truthfully that I considered myself a scientist. Well, they offered me the job anyway and I have never looked back. Over the past 23 years, the refining fires of public education have removed the dross and left the purified teacher within. For over a dozen years I have tried to implement technology in my teaching whenever possible. In 2000, I started teaching a preservice technology classes as an adjunct professor for Newberry College. In 2001, I became a Master Teacher for the Intel Teach program and taught seven classes while in Lexington District Three. In 2004, I was accepted as a Senior Trainer for the Intel Teach program and was able to offer training anywhere in the USA. At the end of the 2003-2004 school year, Lexington District One expanded the number of technology integration specialists (TIS) so I applied and was offered a job. It was very hard to leave the school and the people that I had worked with for 18 years. Still this was an opportunity for which I had been preparing for many years and so I took the job. Even though I am a shy person, I feel like it has been a good fit over these past five years and I have been able to work with some great colleagues. In addition to my normal duties, I have been able to be innovative by learning how to more effectively create software tools for teachers using Mediator and Visual Basic. Over the last year and a half, I have worked with a group of TIS and our district webmaster to create a teacher resource center, a database for storing all kinds of digital artifacts that teachers can use. Since last summer, I have become very interested in place based learning. This year, I have been working with a retiring ELA teacher to capture the local history of the community where I work using iPods and Google Earth. I and two other TIS, Frieda Foxworth and John Geanangel have been working on creating augmented reality activities using mobile computers with embedded GPS. With the exception of impending budget cuts due to the Great Recession and our governor’s limited vision of public education, it has been an incredibly good year professionally. Then why do I ask, “Who am I?” At the end of all this, I realize that whether it is an art or a science or a calling, I am a teacher.

No comments:

Post a Comment