2020 has been filled with dramatic changes on a global and personal level. Globally, we are watching a rise of civil rights movement and a viral pandemic. Personally, I left my teaching position to join my husband in Virginia, will graduate with my master’s degree, and will probably move again before the year is done. Throughout all this I have discovered how important it is to me to align my values and goals to help create the spaces and world I want to inhabit. For my career, I want to focus on one primary goal and two supplementary goals that will guide me as I continue my work as an educator:
- Be an equitable education leader who creates platforms for these who need it most and works towards ending systemic issues that affect K-12 spaces.
- Be knowledgeable about how technology is used in K-12 spaces from networking to classroom tools and software.
- Learn how to write grants and handle budgets in K-12 educational institutions.
These are areas that I know are not my strong points, and it is hard to know what you do not know. I am privileged to be connected to several educators within my own family that I was able to discuss these goals and help me move towards being the leader I want to be.
My godmother teaches classroom technology integration classes at the University of Maine Farmington. She inspired me from a young age, bringing my brothers and me palm pilots to play with in elementary school and has been an early adopter of every Apple product that has come out since the 1980’s. We talked about what it would look like to be an equitable leader in K-12 and higher education spaces and how they differed. One of the things she impressed on me was making sure that after I finished my degree that I make time to seek out new articles and research to better my practice. To start, I plan on going through the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME) list of selected research for equity and access in music education. From there, I plan on reading Closing the Gap by Howard, Schaffer, and Thomas and gather further ideas from various education leaders I follow on Twitter.
With Twitter and other computer tools I use to support my classroom, my colleagues would consider me “good with computers”. I feel uncomfortable with that description when I do not have the coding and networking skills to back up. My Master of Arts in Educational Technology has prepared me for technology in the classroom and in technology classes, but to lead at a district level, I want to be able to support and manage technicians who have more technical knowledge. For help with these, I turn to my father and brothers have worked in various technology sectors for a combined 45 years. When I talked with my dad, we talked about building upon my user design knowledge and expanding my coding knowledge. There are several places to start online, but my brother Will, who is completely self-taught through these online resources, recommended freeCodeCamp. Having all this background knowledge will let me ascertain which tools are necessary and are worth the price tag for my classroom, school, or district.
I want to be able to properly handle finances and procure grants for my community to adequately support my colleagues and their students. My aunt has written grants and managed departments as the Vice Chancellor of Student Success and Engagement at a community college. She and I spoke about grants, budgets, and where to start. She recommended taking a grant writing class through nonprofitready.org and attend a Grant Professionals Association event. The next step would be to work on applying for small grants to help local volunteer organizations and schools to learn the process. I plan to find grants to offset any inequities in district budgets and ensure my colleagues can get the exact tools they need to support student learning.
As I explore the financial, equity, and technological facets of education I hope to become the educator I want to see more of in our community. To hold myself accountable to these goals, I plan on publishing a blog post once a week on my site to make my learning public. My primary goal should be able to focus me throughout the rest of my career while the supplementary goals will change as education changes. I look forward to changing to meet the needs of our students as the years go by.