The 2020-2021 school year is about to start, and it looks like more remote learning for a little while. The experience of having to prepare digital classrooms was intimidating for many of us back in March, and even still, we're quite unsure of what to expect. Remember, you teach kids, not content. So, whatever you plan, make them the priority. If you need help or resources, please look around our site. You find several years of blogs, videos, and professional development presentations.
Mrs. Stahlecker sings one of her favorite songs for her students.
August 2, 2020: Tomorrow I Start My Dream Job
For the past 13 years, I have been blessed to serve on an amazing junior high campus with a staff I adore, and a leadership team that I greatly admire and respect. Up until March, we operated business as usual, but with the knowledge that the 2019-2020 school year would be the last on our campus. We would all be moving to a brand new facility before the start of the next school year, and excitement was in the air. Then reality shifted slowly but starkly over the course of a month in February and March.
First came the news that our long serving principal, who'd spent 20 years building a legacy of unparalleled student achievement on our campus, was moving up in the district to help other schools better reach their potential. Then, the corona virus changed the course of education for the next few weeks, and then the foreseeable future. I was actually on the Millennium Falcon ride at Disney World during spring break when I got the call that school was cancelled the next week. The next call I got from the school, changed my life.
During the early days of remote learning, I got a call from my new boss. He had news that we'd be one of the first 1:1 technology campuses in the district. He also wanted me to help navigate all that entailed, and be a resource for other teachers on campus as an Instructional Technology Coach. I calmly controlled my elation during the call, but I was doing figurative back flips when I got off the phone and explained everything to Cathy. (If you know me, literal back flips are not something I'm really capable of.) This was a dream come true. Not just because it was a position that I had prepared to pursue at some point, even earning my Master's Degree in Instructional Technology Leadership just a year ago, but because it was happening much sooner than I ever anticipated. I was also overjoyed that I get to undertake this new challenge with the support of the staff that had become family over the course of the last decade. The icing on the cake was that I would still get to teach the Principles of AV Technology and Communication course that I'd fought to create, and run the student news team, which had become a source of professional pride and a creative outlet.
I will wear quite a few hats in this new role, and since finding out we will return to remote learning for three weeks before kids return to campus, an already big big job got a little bigger. I've been to the campus half a dozen times over the last month to take delivery of cameras and equipment for the broadcast studio, learn the ins and outs of sound and lighting systems for the stage and gyms, and program the Brightsign messaging system we have throughout the building. I still have to coordinate distribution of over 1000 Chromebooks by the 10th, and prepare my new course in Canvas, so that we're ready to get rolling on the 12th. I'm disappointed that we won't be starting the year with the fanfare of a grand opening of our campus, or that it will be a while before I can really meet face to face with different PLCs to help integrate technology into meaningful lessons. I know there will be challenges, but I'm not going to let myself be intimidated by the circumstances. I'm ready, and the support that I've gotten from other teachers and the administration team has given me a big confidence boost. This is exactly what I want to be doing, and I'm exactly where I want to be doing it.
It might not be exactly what I envisioned, but tonight I'll sleep well knowing that tomorrow, my dream becomes a reality.