Why I Choose to be an Educator #SAVMP

This is a new blog for me – the only one I have that is really “mine.”  I have two other blogs – one to share best practices within the Jerome School District,; the other to share what is being discussed in Idaho EdChat.

I just completed my 20th year as a full-time educator.  As I begin my 21st year, I do it in a new position.  I spent the last 7 as an administrator of a Middle School (2 as assistant principal; 5 as principal).  Before that I was an English teacher, and spent those 13 years in multiple schools and multiple grade levels – all secondary (grades 7-12).  Many ask me if I miss the classroom, and yes – there are times that I do.  My passion, however, is to get other educators as excited about seeing student success as I am.

In so many ways I am not the same educator as I was when I began teaching.  Thank goodness!  I was afraid to do anything “wrong.”  I tried new things, but not until I was absolutely sure they would “work” with my students.  It was not until after my third year teaching  that I learned what “teaching” was really about.  It isn’t about being a “fount of knowledge” to shoot at students.  It is about learning WITH students.  Yes – content knowledge is critical to teaching, but being willing to do and try things that you are not an expert in is also critical.  Developing relationships with students around learning – theirs and your own – is what can help teachers take learning to another level with students.

What helped me make this transition?  Collaboration!  I had a team of teachers with whom I planned, shared, and celebrated.  We helped pushed each other out of our comfort zones.  We worked with each other – drawing on strengths of each other.  When one of us was frustrated, we helped each other work through it.  It was that collegiality that helped begin molding me into the educator I have become, and continue to become.  It is through my connections with other educators that I continue to grow.  Why do I REMAIN and educator?  Because seeing others learn and succeed excites me – seeing other teachers try new things, fail, and then try again excites me!  Seeing student “lightbulbs” go on for the first time – excites me.

My new position is Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development for the Jerome School District (in Idaho).  What is my leadership style as an educational leader? Service oriented, distributive leadership. All members of a team are integral – regardless of their “paygrade.” Teamwork is the key to the success of my leadership. I try and draw on the strengths of staff, give them the tools to get the job done, and then get out of the way. I set goals and have staff set goals – personal, team, and school-wide.

While I enjoyed being principal, what I enjoyed most about it is being able to impact curriculum and instruction. The most gratifying moments have been when I collaborate with staff to implement new instructional strategies/curriculum, or when staff share instructional struggles and accomplishments. Working with teachers on their professional development; helping teachers find new strategies to try; helping teachers find ways to integrate technology to raise the level of engagement; these are some of the things about which I am passionate, and I hope to share that passion.