While I feel like I am always reflecting, the start of a new year brings the opportunity to look back on 2016. It would be an understatement to say that it has been a big year of change for me - I got a new job, I got married, my name changed and I have wrestled with my identity throughout all of it. While students are still my passion and focus, I have struggled to talk about my work since it no longer revolves around students. As a teacher, I used to come home from work and tell and handful of stories about my day. I now find myself coming home and simply muttering some mono-syllabic response to the question "How was your day?"
You may think that this implies that I don't like my new position, but you would be wrong. I love the work that I'm doing now. The difference is that I don't know how to talk about it. I spend a great deal of my day creatively imagining different ways to make sure the professional development can be a joyful, rigorous and personalized experience (a coined phrase the has come up a lot in my new position) instead of a dreaded time-suck. I'm making gamified PD, scheming big-picture plans for online course rollouts, etc. But it's all so new to me that I don't always know how to talk about it. I've learned the math and teacher lingo, the edtech phrases, etc. Now, I don't know what people want to know about my new role. What do I blog about? Tweet?
Luckily, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to present AP Calculus Saturday Study Sessions for the Colorado Education Initiative for another year. If you have never heard of them, their work with AP programs absolutely transformed my teaching practice when they supported my school through the Legacy Schools Program. They are incredible people that have done amazing things for students across Colorado. While I wrestle with my professional identity in my new position, I am so happy that they have given my the change to get my fix for geeking out over calculus with students. It's the one thing that feels normal as a recovering AP Calculus teacher.
If you have any ideas for what you would like to hear about with my new 'Professional Learning Parner' role, please be sure to message me on Twitter or leave a comment below. Happy New Year everyone!
Mattea Juengel is a passionate educator dedicated to improving instruction by utilizing technology. This blog is dedicated to reflections on educational technology tools.