As the e-Learning Coordinator for my Board, I have the opportunity to promote online learning and build teacher capacity in this area. I have logged countless, lonely kilometers crisscrossing the Board in an attempt to work and learn with teachers and model the use of the #vLE. The promotion and modeling was all on me. I worked hard at making connections, increasing educator confidence in the #vLE and continued on, in the face of many obstacles, to promote the online learning and teaching experience. I felt responsible for all the learning, all the PD and all the connections related to the job.
This year I also undertook the lead for the CODE Project for our Board. Working hand in hand with educators who were passionate about student engagement, online learning, student acquisition of 21st Century Skills, and life-long professional learning has been a fantastic learning experience. These champion educators have helped to spread the word, model their learning and support their fellow educators at the local level. I have taken a step back and by releasing the sense that I need to be the sole person responsible for this initiative and by supporting the champion teachers I have witnessed the development of leadership capacity in other educators and I have been encouraged and enthused by the conversations, experiences and capacity of the SGDSB CODE team.
This year there was a subtle shift in my thinking and practice. The #vLE capacity building and promotion became a little less about me and this is….difficult. No initiative should ever rely upon one individual. Time, logistics and personality all factor into why an initiative may not get off the ground and/or prosper with just one person as the lead. Having a variety people, from a variety of backgrounds helps to spread the message and make the vital connections in learning and practice.
I am still accountable for my e-Learning Contact role, but by releasing the sense of responsibility that I am solely accountable for the growth of online learning, I am transforming as a leader and actually supporting the growth of my role. I can’t know it all, nor can I do it all, but I can support those who are trying.
So… in the spirit of #OSSEMOOC …what have I learned?
I am no longer the lone nut out there in the field, dancing to the beat of my own drum. I am surrounded by other “nuts”. “Nuts” who sometimes quietly dance in the corner or those who dance colourfully and certainly with more panache than I could ever hope to imagine. Sometimes we are in tune and sometimes our rhythm is wildly off kilter. But we dance, and most importantly we keep dancing……..
By taking a step back I actually have taken a major step forward.
“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”
-James M Barrie