"I never let schooling get in the way of my education." - Mark Twain
Welcome to the inaugural post of Teacher Camp, an education blog that will serve as one part chronicle of my career as a trainer, coach and TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment) and one part resource for the beleaguered educator. My hope is that people will use it to gather ideas and strategies to help them develop as educators and professionals.
First, a little about my credentials and back story. I am currently in my 11th year as a educator. For the last 10 I happily worked as a middle school history teacher and did a little bit of technology coaching on the side. Until recently I was completely convinced that this would be the pattern I'd follow for the rest of my career until I retired at age 95.
But the last two years brought some monumental shifts to my professional career. First, I was lucky enough to join the Buck Institute for Education's National Faculty. BIE is a non-profit group who's goal is to ensure that all students have access to Project-Based Learning (PBL) as part of their K-12 education. There will be plenty more on the benefits of PBL in later posts, but being one of this organizations trainers made me reconsider what it means to be a career teacher. I now travel across the country teaching teachers and helping them to improve and refine their pedagogy while getting to connect with what education looks like across 'Merica, something that I have enjoyed immensely.
The second change involved a role shift for me. This year I am a Teacher on Special Assignment in both the areas of educational technology and PBL. With no class of my own, I travel between the three schools in my district working with our teachers in their classrooms and individually to build capacity in PBL and Ed-Tech. I have no set schedule, no defined goals apart from those general guidelines, and aside from my direct supervisor who sit in an office about 2 miles up the road no real oversight.
And that brings us back to this blog. Aside from the 1940's work ethic my parents, who were coincidentally both career educators, instilled me with, there's not a lot to keep me focused other than my trusty "To-Do" list and this blog. I hope to use it as a reflection tool and a communication opportunity for educators to enjoy.
One more thing about the blog. I named it Teacher Camp because my first real job at age 12 was working as a summer camp counselor in the mountains outside Santa Cruz, CA. For the next 20 years I worked at a variety of camps across the US and for many different organizations and I've always felt that I learned a great deal about working with kids and education in general from these formative years. Camp became an incubator for my eventual teaching career, and I have always felt that its part of why I'm good at what I do.
So let the incubation continue!