‘ A teacher’s job is to calm the disturbed and to disturb the calm’ (unknown author)
Disturbing the calm is definitely my preference!
My current goal is to disturb the status quo of classroom teaching.Now as it happened, this weekend I also read another blog post by Scott Belsky, the author of Making Ideas Happen, where he was also writing about questioning the norm. He was describing a new type of 21st century professional that he dubbed the "free radical". He described how, in the past, these people would either have been freelancers, working for themselves, or if they were working for organisations, would probably have been regarded as mavericks as they were not prepared to "surrender to the friction of the status quo". Belsky listed the characteristics of these free radicals, and several of these brought to mind members of my PLN - teachers who are pushing for change. For example:
- We are all doing our job because it is intrinsically rewarding - we do our job because we love it. We see education as a way of making a lasting impact in the lives of children and in the world, we know we are making a difference.
- We want to experiment and try out new ways of doing things - we are not satisfied with the old "factory model" of schooling and so are involved in action research to develop the new skills that are needed in the 21st century. We are blogging about the new things we are doing, sharing our ideas, getting feedback and moving forward.
- Because of this we only thrive in schools that are looking to the future and encouraging us to try things out, make mistakes and learn from them. It's interesting to me that many of the members of my PLN have actually moved into new positions in their schools, moved to new schools or moved out of schools altogether in the past 2 years. If we feel we are not in an organisation which values us, or if we are in an environment where we are not learning, then we leave. We are not satisfied with being mediocre, with not being able to do our best.
- We believe in contributing to the "collective knowledge", of sharing our ideas with others rather than keeping them to ourselves. We know that information is not like "things". If you give an apple to someone else, it's still the same apple. If you give an idea to someone else and work on it together, you both end up with a better idea.
For the past year or more I've been mulling over what I want to do next. Belsky says "we believe in meritocracy and the power of online networks and peer communities to advance our ability to do what we love". So I'm open to suggestions from my PLN, but this is what I know:
- I want to work with teachers and help them to grow in confidence in how they use technology to transform teaching and learning. I called this blog Tech Transformation 2 years ago because I passionately believe technology can transform learning as long as teachers empower their students to use it.
- I want to work in a school that inspires me with its vision of the future and one that is committed to the learner in us all: teachers as well as students. A culture of learning is very important to me so I want to work in an atmosphere that encourages me to grow beyond where I am now in my thinking and understanding. I want to be the best I can be.
- I want to work in a school where relationships are important, where it's OK to ask questions and to try different things, where teachers are trusted to do a good job and where their contribution is valued.
Photo Credit: Warm Sand by Mr eNil