As a multi-track year-round teacher, I’ve just completed the first week of school: a new administration, a new demanding schedule, a new PLT, a new batch of seventh graders, and many other new challenges. However, this group of students is wonderful, my new PLT is off to a great running start, and this new administration has expressed unwavering high standards for its staff. If your undergo a change in your surroundings, I think it’s safe to assume you’ll change as a result as you adapt.
So looking ahead to this school year, I realize this new context coupled with the unique and intense Kenan Fellows experience will be nothing shy of completely transformative for me. My Fellowship tasks me with creating Professional Development for the entire state of North Carolina for ELA instruction in the Common Core. As such, I am living and breathing the Common Core – both as an educator of students and an educator of teachers – in every aspect of my professional life.
I’ve written before about teachers’ core beliefs in one of my guest posts on the educational blog “Scripted Spontaneity“, authored by 2012 Kenan Fellow and educator-extraordinaire Paul Cancellieri. In that post, I stated core beliefs are tightly held and highly personal. I have started this year already changing several of my long-held practices and beliefs, and it is in no small way due to the Kenan Fellowship and my education about the Common Core at DPI. I’ve already described how the NCCAT experience will ‘reshape the landscape of myself as an educator and a person” and how the many new technology tools I’ve both shared and learned will revolutionize how my classroom works, for both me and my students. Although I am sure this Fellowship with continue to enrich my teaching in ways I can’t even imagine yet, these early pedagogical renovations give me some small idea of the gravitational pull of the evolution this year has in store.
You would think the Earth shifting under my feet might rattle my confidence as an educator. After all, it’s no small matter for a teacher’s Plate tectonics to shift, and those that know me well know I am not the self-assured person I may appear at first glance. However, one of the greatest personal changes I’ve experienced as a Kenan Fellow is the new confidence I seem to now bring with me wherever I go. It’s admittedly foreign to me, like a unfamiliarly-shaped shadow made of light instead of dark, suddenly following me around.
I expect the Kenan Fellowship will continue to erode old ideas and replenish the coastline of my knowledge with new ones. However, it’s not just that my pedagogical landscape is changing. My horizon is expanding in ways never imagined.
Simply put, I see this year changing me to the core.