Earlier this week, someone asked about how my building administrators are using social networking tools. I quietly laughed at this because I am just getting more comfortable with using social networking tools in my professional life.
It was interesting how this appeared at this point in time because I have spent a bit of time the last several months not being quite sure of my professional goals. The whole "what do I want to be when I grow up" question plagued me. I felt listless, aimless, even bordering on apathetic. Definitely not where I had intended on being when I started teaching several years ago, and I wanted to blame it on a myriad of things. My position, my colleagues, my disinterest. Then I realized, I had no one to blame but myself. I had become stagnant in my profession. And I had nobody to blame but myself. I think over the past several weeks, I have learned one of the most important lessons I could learn: Passion doesn't just happen upon you; it is a result of connecting in a meaningful way.
I had been sitting back and waiting to be inspired-- inspired to think, inspired to change, inspired to choose. And it wasn't happening. And so I sat. And I watched myself spiral down into the place we all see many teachers spiral: mediocrity. I was busying myself with technical requests and organizational processes, blindly for quite a while, not realizing that while I was doing this, I was allowing part of myself to die away. I see the value of what I have been doing here for two years, and much of it was necessary, but I also now see the value of balance. And that was what I was lacking.
Coming to the Tech Center pulled me out of my comfort zone. Rather than being able to easily integrate technology into subjects that I knew much about-- English, social studies, science, math-- I was now surrounded with wrenches and torches; cars and sheds; huge mixers; blowdryers and scissors... I had no idea where to begin, what they were teaching, or how I could help them to move forward into the 21st century-- to benefit themselves and their students. And true to form, I was fearful, so I sat; I didn't risk. This is my pattern, but I can reflect now and see that I usually end up moving past the fear. I hope one day to not allow the fear to consume me so completely.
It has been invigorating to bring myself back up to speed. My Google Reader, which for a year has sat, intermittently accessed, with very few feeds, is now bursting with robust feeds from many different Educational Technology professionals. Twitter, which I couldn't really understand as a professional tool, now blips at me daily, and I have started following people I know and those I don't know. And probably the greatest accomplishment of all? I have contacted five teachers about the possibilities of transforming our portfolio process to an online project. They have all excitedly accepted, and though I still feel trepidation at the prospects of seeing this project through to fruition, I know that this time, I will not allow it to whither.