Saturday May 4th, I both celebrated the end of an amazing experience and attempted a new one. On Saturday night, I attended the Kenan Fellows “Catalysts for Change” reception and dinner that both celebrated the end of our 2013 class and welcomed the 2014 Fellows. It was not that long ago that I was just embarking on the amazing experience that those 49 educators are eagerly anticipating. Many asked what to expect. While every Kenan Fellow has an experience that is highly personal, as mentors and placements vary widely, there are certainly themes and common trends that evolve of you talk to Fellows that have completed the process. They have a different, more global perspective for their role in the classroom. They have new knowledge to bring back to their students. They have new confidence to emerge (or continue to evolve) as a teacher leader, and they have an eagerness for the next adventure.
Our Kenan Fellows 2013 class is very close, and we have planned several ‘unofficial’ gatherings throughout the year. I look forward to a large cookout planned at one Fellow’s house this June. These are some of the best teachers, colleagues, and friends I could ever ask for. I’ll be forever grateful for meeting these 42 professionals this year.
Before this dinner event filled with hugs and reminiscing, I attended EdcampNC – my first Edcamp. Though the “unconference“ model proclaims the notion of putting the participants in charge, my experience was such that those who were ‘old hand’ certainly still ran the show. Education is a small world, and Edcamp certainly highlighted its “Good Old Boy” club is in full vigor. The inner circle already knew each other well and did most of the talking in sessions – even the one I’d proposed. I wasn’t even given credit for participating in the Tech Smackdown. (Just look for the only resource shared without a name.)
I don’t mean to sound so negative. I really did enjoy putting faces together with a few Education folks with whom I have had great discussions on Twitter. I also received a few new tools throughout the day. A colleague who was also new to Edcamp was put off enough to probably not return. I think, for myself, since I clearly can’t beat the system, I have to decide: Do I try to find a way to join it?
This feeling of frustration is exacerbated by my desire to grow and stretch feeling stifled. With the Fellowship behind me and this school year rapidly coming to a close (school for Track 1 on our year-round calendar ends May 31st) I am itching for the next big challenge. I’d thought I’d found a match when the language arts department of my district asked for teachers to submit a professional development proposal that we’d be willing to provide for year-round schools this July. However, my “iPad Apps in the ELA classroom” proposal was not accepted. So, I am feeling rejected and restless – never a good combination.