So I was inspired by a recent blog post from Ryan O’Donnell about his year in numbers (click here for that post) and off course that got me to thinking about my year by the numbers.
Being a first year Technology Integration Specialist, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Sure, I saw the job description, but the lofty and dreamy ideas I had while imagining what my year would be like were far from the reality of the job. Was that just a misunderstanding on my part, or did the job morph into something that was unexpected by both me and my boss? Let’s take this opportunity to reflect on it, by the numbers.
First off, I can see that my numbers indicate there was a lot of communication going on. At one point I had over 6000 emails in my inbox before I started purging. We get some spam in our district (but those get deleted right away). Still, 6K emails seemed ridiculous, so I went with sent emails instead. Communication this year has been great within my department and between my innovators. It is the one thing that I focused on, keeping people inside the loop, making sure I was sharing as much as possible, getting back to people quickly. I hope to keep that up for next year as well.
The next thing that pops out at me is the amount of learning I did this year. That was one aspect of this position that surprised me the most, the amount of trainings and conferences, in-services and edcamps, PLCs and PLNs. I read a lot as well, inspired by reading lists of my twitter peeps and voxer groups (#ConnectedTL tribe Represent!). I had more on-point pedagogy and metacognition discussions in one month on twitter and voxer than in my previous five years of site meetings. The opportunities for growth through social media are real, and all it takes is a willingness to go out and find your tribe!
I did crazy amounts of professional reading and learning this year, even for an English major, but it was highly engaging and most of it was applicable almost immediately. I love to learn, as most teachers do, and this year has really sparked that love of learning in me again, and I find myself sneaking in a chapter or two of reading at night instead of my Sons of Anarchy or Breaking Bad binges (although I still leave some room for those too!)
There was a lot of content creation for me this year as well, designing lessons and PDs that I would present to teachers or small groups. I figured that would be a part of this job, but looking back, I thought more of my day would be spent in classrooms, sleeves rolled up and getting my hands dirty with some good lessons. I hear some of my colleagues and tribe members talking about missing the kids and the classroom, but I got my fixes during the year, and I really enjoy teaching teachers as well. We have an image up in our office about our impact as an educator, and how teachers reach fewer students at a deeper influence, but as TOSAs and Admin, we are able to increase our sphere of influence and impact potentially more students by improving teaching and learning. I think that is reflected in the increase in calendar appts with teachers, in the PDs led and in the QRs generated for digital portfolios for my innovators. Also our podcasts and screencasts increase our reach and influence in ways we are still coming to grips with. We started the podcast as a fun outlet and easy way to spread PD and the word about our work, but it has morphed into something that we love doing, and that shows in the improvement of quality in the shows, and in the increased subscriptions as the show has gone on.
So by the numbers, it was a very busy year, one full of communication, collaboration and some interesting obstacles and speed bumps we never saw coming. My hope for next year is to continue the communication pieces I have started this year, to get into the classroom with the tools and skills I learned this year, and to get the word out about the great things happening in the Bassett Unified School District. As our superintendent says, we are on the Move!
Thanks Ryan for inspiring some reflection based on hard numbers. If you are looking to make a sheet of your own, Ryan has made his google drawings template available on his site. Head on over and see how your year stacked up by the numbers . . .