Sailing Uncharted Seas

Hmmm perhaps this should have been my very first blog post, but better late than never, right?!  I thought I’d just share a little bit of my journey – how I got to be in this metaphorical boat, sailing uncharted seas where the maps available may only warn ‘here be dragons’.

In a former life (i.e. last term ;)) I was HOD English.  Now that was the ultimate goal for me in becoming a teacher.  I wanted to teach English (mostly Shakespeare) and I wanted to be the Head of an English department.  Mission accomplished.  Happiness to follow?  Not necessarily…

It was when I found myself actively applying for non-teaching jobs (a massive wrench for someone who always wanted to teach) that I realised something just wasn’t adding up.  While still applying for jobs, I started listening to myself.  What messages was I relaying about my days at work?  I always had a funny or warm anecdote about something that happened in class.  I really like my colleagues.  I really didn’t find satisfying the constant war on how best to spend my time.  The hierarchy went: stuff with parents; stuff that affected colleagues; senior marking; junior marking; planning lessons; department strategic stuff.  Very rarely did that ranked list lead me to do the things that I felt would make a difference.  Something needed to change – but the teaching wasn’t actually it.

In amongst this, it was announced that the school was going BYOD.  Even me, with a severely limited understanding of what this meant in real terms, could see that this required a massive shift.  What was the school doing about this (in case I don’t make this point later on – behind the scenes there was lots of really good thinking going on, I was just unaware of it at the time) to prepare staff?

I could spy an opportunity.  Land ahoy?!  I presented myself as a ‘willing skeptic’ – I could write a blog, and present some ideas to staff about how to teach ‘BYOD’.  I had some ideas about the 3Cs of creativity, communication and critical thinking.  I convinced the principal.  Job mine.  Go to ULearn.

Bam!  I was suddenly adrift on an ocean of amazing ideas and opportunities – uncharted yes, but exciting in its very openness.  Overnight (OK over the three days of the conference) I was converted – no longer ‘willing skeptic’ (how I cringe – who would go for that idea anyway?!) but raving zealot!

So, no longer HOD English, but Future Learning Leader.  The seas remain uncharted, but the way forward is becoming less mirage-like.  I will co-lead staff learning around the WHY of e-learning/BYOD with a strong emphasis on future learning principles and strategies.  I will not jump up with a new app every day.  I will work alongside departments to follow through an inquiry process into what they’re interested, and what might work technology-wise to support student needs for them as 21st century citizens.

I am no expert.  I am but a learner, and hopefully we can all work together to learn more.  Lifejacket anyone?


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