I did not leave teaching because I disliked teaching. On the contrary, sharing one of my passions with eager and untainted minds was exciting and incredibly rewarding. Students experiencing the relevance of Chemistry and Forensic Science to their daily lives was something I felt fortunate to see on a daily basis and it gave me tremendous hope for our future. No, I left teaching because I had an opportunity to pursue a different passion that I felt could impact students in content areas where I was not an expert. That was to help other teachers who were experts in their fields to maximize the use of technology to truly personalize the learning experience for every single student in my school. I started working with other teachers on this exact goal more than 7 years ago in North Carolina and I have continued doing this in the roles I have had since moving to Iowa.
In my brief teaching career in NC, I was fortunate to have access to technology for my students on a regular basis. This allowed me to expose my students to science that was beyond the walls of my classroom and outside the boundaries of my expertise. I was also fortunate to work with a group of teachers who I felt were some of the best in the world! Aside from the relationships that we were able to build with students in our small school setting, we had incredibly collaborative relationships with each other as well. We were expected to observe each other's classes on a regular basis and provide constructive feedback that our Principal would follow up on. I was truly awed by the strategies they used, everyone's willingness to take risks and try new things and the learning that was taking place as a result. It was truly a culture of learning and respect for one another. If I found strategies that were working, I would seek out these teachers for more advice and fortunately for me, one of these conversations resulted in me and my wife becoming more than colleagues! She helped me further understand our students amazing capacity to learn when they walked through my door each day and provided me with teaching advice that I would never have received in graduate school.
When I started working for DMPS as an Instructional Technology Coordinator and learned about the Trailblazer program, I was thrilled that I would be able to continue working with and learning from these teachers who are blazing a new trail in education through risk-taking and being willing to learn from each other in order to create a new vision for student learning. Last year was full of successes and with so many new faces this year, I am eager to see how the 2016-2017 Trailblazers will step up as Innovation Pioneers.
The DMPS Instructional Technology Coordinators share updates, articles, ideas & observations here.