I have been working with some wonderful people for the past few weeks at my new job as an educational technology specialist. They have welcomed me, the new guy, with open arms, and I appreciate their hospitality. I have many questions, and I know there is not always time to answer them but my new colleagues do it anyway. I am grateful.
Christian Long at think:lab put how I feel in such eloquent words I want to share them here (My colleagues can change the position of “English teacher and coach” in their minds and place me as an educational tech specialist into Christian’s train of thought). Christian, please let me know if I’m out of bounds sharing your sentiments.
Christian states and I feel the same,
“Note to self:
The school has seen something in you that they value. Likewise, you have seen something even more impressive in them that you value.
The school has invited you to become a part of their lives and families. Likewise, you have invited them to become part of your life and family.
The school has entrusted you with the academic and social well-being of their most precious resources: their kids. Likewise, you have agreed to take this responsibility on without fail, and without letting your own biases/ego get in the way.
The school — long before you were interviewed — had been successfully creating a culture of academic rigor, respect/empathy, and life-long relationships. Even if you never came around, they’d still be doing it tomorrow and many years into the future. They invited you to play a small role within their family. Likewise, you noted this about them each and every time you visited the campus. You have accepted a small role within their family, first and foremost. And you never plan on forgetting that with or with you, they’ll continue doing great things in the future.
The school knows you can bring additional ideas and resources to them over time; in fact, they hired you explicitly — even when they did not need to hire one more English teacher or coach — in part because of that very realization. What they need from you early on, however, is to listen to, learn about, respect, and celebrate the academic world that they have already built and committed to long before you came-a-knockin’. Likewise, you have signed up to teach classes they need and in ways they value, first and foremost. You have plenty of time to share new ideas, but listening, watching, and respecting is the first rule of business. Listening and watching is your best trait going forward in this first year.
The school expects you to do great things on their behalf. In the meantime, they will ask you to do the ‘small’ things first. Likewise, you expect to do great things on their behalf. In the meantime, you will embrace the ‘small’ things with dignity and enthusiasm.
The school has extraordinary people that are capable of amazing things and more mentors that you can shake a stick at going in. Likewise, you know this and want to empower their success (rather than to try to prove what you can do yourself). And you will find as many mentors as you can to learn from, without fail.
Now that we have that cleared up, it’s time to get-r-done!”
Thanks for sharing Christian, and best wishes now that you have returned to the classroom. I will be hoping for good things to happen to you and your students and will follow along each day. Once again thanks to my new colleagues, district, and community for allowing me into your day to day world.