Today at NAIS Teacher of the Future Orientation/Conference one of our reflections centered upon our “aha” moment. I did not share at the time because I wasn’t sure which aha moment to pick. The time when I was 7 and I knew I wanted to be a teacher? The moment in my first job when I realized I was not going to be a high school chorus teacher? What was the “aha’ moment that changed my professional trajectory? Well, this I can answer for complete certain.
It was my 9th year of teaching vocal/general music in grades K-8. I loved my students. I loved my school. I loved teaching recorder to 8 year olds and introducing first graders to Peter and the Wolf. I loved when I heard my K students match so-mi for the first time. I loved so many elements. But something nagged…in the last few years of teaching music I realized that I cared more about learning about organizational change, curriculum development, and technology integration. My master’s program led me down a path to administration, but really led me down a path of loving watching others grow. My final research paper centered upon the change process for technology integration in schools; if that isn’t a seismic shift, I don’t what is.
So as I spent the day in an Orff Schulwerk workshop with a MASTER educator, I found myself realizing, “This is perfect for someone who wants to grow in this field and that person is not me.” It was liberating. It was as if the clouds lifted and I finally had clarity. Despite that fact that the previous 30ish years would have led me to believe that I would be a life-long music educator, it was the recent two-three that came to head at that workshop to tell me to walk away.
Walk away from educating, NO WAY! Walk away from school, heck No! Walk away from a constant pursuit of learning and growing, definitely NOT. But in the area of elementary-choral music, it was time to say no. It was time to move to an area that inspired me, intrigued me, challenged me, and made me want to show up—working with teachers. Working with teachers to help them become their best selves. Spending time with other education professionals to help them refine their practice, innovate their instruction, and match the needs of their students. This was my new calling.
At this given moment, I work through the lens of technology integration. I have the privilege of working with teachers and students to impact educational shift. I encourage new ways to look at curriculum through best practices, technology integration, and shifting from traditional classroom settings to modern ones. As our culture shifts from an isolated approach in teaching and learning to a collaborative one, I want to be on the forefront of guiding and supporting teachers to make this shift.
We have a unique opportunity as Teachers of the Future to collaborate with a cohort of teachers who have the same passions and ideals. We gather around the common themes of blended learning, assessment, accreditation, and student health and well-being for the modern age. We get to share with one another and lead the conversation on educational change at a national level. What an incredible opportunity! My aha moment is starting to find a way into being. And now is only the beginning.