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Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Direction: Teacher-Researcher-Learning Designer

A beach reprieve with loved ones created a great opportunity
to think about the professional days ahead. 
As educators, we all wonder where our road is going. We look at one another's path and rightly compare as we think about direction? Where am I going? What kind of an educator am I becoming? What is my role in this education puzzle that is continually evolving?

I think a lot about this, and seek definition and direction. Lately, I've recognized that my path is directed towards teaching, researching, and learning design.

As I mentioned many times, the children are my muse. Every good idea I've developed has been born in my work with children. They inspire the best of whom I can be and what I can do when it comes to teaching well. Hence, my path continually redirects me towards service to children. This is where I'm meant to be and where I want to be ten months out of the year. (I still need and enjoy two months of summer to think, read, and re-energize to serve children well)

I truly enjoy researching what works best in education. I look forward to reading the books written by so many dedicated educators, and synthesizing their ideas with the reality of school life and the work of so many other researchers and practitioners in and out of education. I know that when I conduct worthy research and them embed that work into my teaching practice, students learn better and develop with greater engagement, confidence, and skill. I also enjoy writing about the research I do and the ways that I employ that research in the day-to-day efforts in the classroom. Further sharing the research online and in real-time, develops my Professional Learning Network (PLN) and our positive exchange and collective knowledge.

Learning Design
I am devoted to the creativity and service inherent in good learning design. I enjoy the intellectual and real world challenge of knowing students well and matching who they are with terrific learning design that includes inspiring introductions, deep learning experiences, hands-on explorations, expert visitors, practice, problem solving, field studies, and more. I know that rich learning design fosters a love of learning, deep, meaningful learning experiences, and enriching intellectual growth and development.

To design learning well also demands professional as well as student(s)-teacher(s) collaboration, and good collaboration provides a great avenue for successful professional and personal growth, effort, and satisfaction.

There are many, many paths to travel in education. Some educators become consultants, and others become administrators. There are those that strictly teach, counsel, or coach, and others that only research or design learning. And, there are those who will leave schools and universities to become political leaders and policy creators and decision makers.

What is important in all of this is that you take a broad look at the paths available and that you continue to travel the roads that match your interest, investment, and skill to better work and service to children. Each time you reach a fork in the road, take some time out to define your path and lead yourself forward.

I don't believe that one role is better or should be more powerful than another as I continue to believe that it is in our collective, earnest action that we serve children and families well and that is what makes our paths meaningful, valuable, and important.

What path will you travel next year and in the years ahead? Why is that path a good choice for you? What will it take to travel that path with success and care? What do you need for a safe and successful journey? I'm curious.