Finding that Loving Feeling for My Work

For about a year or more I was feeling very unfulfilled in my job and work. That is a very odd feeling for me. I have always LOVED what I do… being in education and having the ability to share my passion for all things technology and geeky is awesome. It was weird to feel as if I had no ambition, no drive, no reason to ‘show up’ to work everyday.

Then one day my husband and I were talking about how I was feeling and trying to figure out what was going on with me. He was reading a book called Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar: How Self Education and the Pursuit of Passion can lead to a Lifetime of Success. He showed me an image in the book that resonated with me. It was the idea of finding where you are engaged in your work. You have two levels one being level of expectations from you or your boss. Higher, you have a level of aspirations. It’s where you want to be or go. If you are working below your expectations you will have a tendency to be worried. Worried of losing your job, perhaps? Worried about not doing well? etc. On the other end of the spectrum if you are working higher than your aspirations you are bored. You have nothing to strive for if you are working above your aspirations. So the key is to work above your expectations while always having a level of aspirations to reach and this will bring engagement.

The image was a preverbal smack in the head. I realized the reason I “lost that lovin’ feeling” was because I stopped reaching higher. I was working above my aspirations. So much to the point that I stopped learning. I stopped reading blogs, using twitter or any other social network for learning. Having this realization, I had to do something about it.

What did I do?

I essentially created a list of things that I was interested in hoping it would lead me to my passions of work again.
I reflected on things I used to love about work.
I reminded my self why I do what I do… It really is for the students. It doesn’t matter how far I am from the classroom, my goal is to improve learning for them.
I created an action plan. How was I going to higher my aspirations? By making them known. I made an appointment with my supervisor and talked with her about my work performance and how I wanted it to change.
I asked to take on/lead a project.
I sank my teeth in to the project and it led me back to wanting to learn more.

How has this affected my outlook?

I find myself asking for input and feedback from my coworkers more often.
I revamped and relaunched my blog. (You are reading it)
I find myself on twitter, Google+, Facebook and other social networks more often to gain more knowledge and SHARE.
I don’t dread going to work in the morning.

Find your passion in work. It makes work a happy place to be.

A quick TED Talk on Success at work.

Need something? Make it.

I am all packed and ready for my trip to Cedar Rapids for “Mother’s Day Madness” (aka I am flying to meet mom for a weekend of relaxing). I am trying to pack super light and want to take my Kindle. I keep it in my purse and it’s getting purse gunk on it. Every time I think about buying a case it’s either when I just get home from shopping or I am wasting time on Amazon and can’t decide what I want. So tonight I took matters in to my own hands. I made one! (The crowd shouts in rhythm) “Maker! Maker! Maker!”

It is a simple case with a little upcycle to it. I had the fabric all ready and as I was looking through my supplies I realized I didn’t have any batting. Oh, NO! But upcycling to the rescue! I used an old stocking that sits in my craft room. It was the perfect weight for my little case.



After measuring the Kindle it was pretty easy. Layer my fabric and sew….


Fabric Sandwich

And 30 minutes later, I had this wonderful little pouch. 🙂


Kindle in a pouch!

Richland School District Two is honored with the ISTE Sylvia Charp award.

I cannot believe it! My day started with the official press release from ISTE stating our district, Richland School District Two, will be honored with the 2014 ISTE Sylvia Charp Award for “leveraging the power of 1:1 learning.” Wow! Congratulations to everyone in Richland School District Two!
Award Winners Will Be Recognized at ISTE 2014 in Atlanta, June 28-July 1
WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 6, 2014 – Today the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) announced its 2014 award winners. Each year ISTE recognizes individuals who are transforming learning, teaching and leading in the digital age. The winners will be honored at ISTE 2014, one of the biggest, most comprehensive ed tech events, to be held June 28-July 1 at the Georgia World Conference Center in Atlanta.
South Carolina’s Richland School District Two is the winner of the 2014 Sylvia Charp Award for District Innovation in Technology. Presented by ISTE andT.H.E. Journal, in honor of the magazine’s founding editor, this award recognizes a school system for exhibiting effectiveness and innovation in the application of technology. Richland School District Two is honored for bringing innovative practices to its classrooms, through both a 1:1 and BYOD programs that are being implemented with a focus on ensuring that the proper policies and procedures to support learning are in place. Technology integration coordinator Donna Teuber and the Technology Integration team will attend ISTE 2104 to accept the award on the district’s behalf.
What is the Sylvia Charp Award for District Innovation in Technology?
Presented by T.H.E. Journal and ISTE, this award recognizes a school system larger than one individual school (school district, school board, secretariat of education, education organization) that exhibits effectiveness and innovation in the application of technology.
Honoring Dr. Sylvia Charp, the founding editor of T.H.E. Journal, and her groundbreaking contributions and extended service to the education technology community, this award has two focuses:
  • Widespread implementation: The winner will ensure equitable and appropriate technology use for all students in the system, aimed at improving learner outcomes and increasing learning opportunities.
  • Innovation: Progress in education, as in all endeavors of our society, depends on new ideas.

Batter up! Coaching in the big leagues… (in schools about technology integration)

This year has been a year of self learning, book studies, and professional development about coaching in education. Let me give you a little back story on why. One aspect of my day job is to support middle school Technology and Learning Coaches. Our coaches are going through a transition with the implementation of 1:1 mobile computing for all students 3rd-12th grade. One of the transitions is even a title change from Instructional Technology Specialist  (ITS) to Technology and Learning Coach (TLC). We removed the I.T. from there title and included T.L.C. Yes, we intentionally added the tender loving care to the name. We wanted to associate caring and coaching with the position to help teachers transition teaching and learning to a “21st Century” classroom. Our first step this year was to conduct professional development for the TLCs about “What is an adult learner?”  Throughout the year, we learned about topics like: how to work with adults, presenting, verbal cues while presenting, time management, collaborating with others, and others.

So back to the coaching…. Next year, we hope to implement a professional development plan to coach our coaches on how to work on technology integration lesson development with teachers. This brings us to the self learning, book studies, and professional development. We have looked at a number of different options in coaching including Coaching Matters by Killon, Harrison, Bryan, and Clifton; The Art of Coaching by Elena Aguilar; and Peer Coaching with Les Foltos. Each of these resources bring in different perspectives and things I appreciate about coaching.

coaching-matters   art   peercoachin

Coaching Matters: Gives you a step by step approach on how to begin and implement a coaching program.

The Art of Coaching: Looks at transformational coaching. The idea of looking at systemic changes to improve teaching and learning. I LOVE this form of coaching because it forces the coach to look at situations through different lenses. Allowing the coach to dissect situations with the Ladder of Inference. I feel The Art of Coaching is something an advanced coach can use to improve their skills.

Peer Coaching: Is a form of coaching that helps teachers connect with teachers. It showcases a highly collaborative atmosphere to help work with teachers to infuse technology in to the curriculum. Peer Coaching is the only form of coaching that we investigated that looks specifically at technology integration.

All of the programs offer great options. There are common threads throughout all programs: Communication, relationship building, trust, and inquiry. Being a coach means being the person who can listen, who cares, who helps with out judging or always being the expert, and asking the right questions to develop deeper meaning and understanding. This also means not deciding what your teachers can’t do before they try. Have you ever heard or said something like: “Oh, I can’t teach my teachers how to use (insert tool/instructional method here) because they can’t do that.”  I have been guilty of this and I am trying to rewrite this to “Who is up for the challenge of trying (insert tool/instructional method here)?

I was a technology coach about 10 years ago through an Enhancing Education Through Education grant. Coaching skills were vital for me to help teachers reach their next and highest goals. It allowed me to form friendships and collaboration that has lasted a decade. It has also be a great joy to see how far some of those teachers have come. When I hear of how they are sharing or presenting at conferences, its like one of my students graduating. Do you have to be a coach to utilize communication, relationship building, trust, and inquiry? No, but the coaching plays an important role in helping teachers move forward in reaching their goals.