Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Making of an Incurably Curious Educator

My journey as an educator started in 1992 when I became a 5th and 6th grade teacher and continued as I became a school librarian in 1997.  The making, however, of an Incurably Curious Educator didn't happen until 2010 when I became disillusioned with the professional development I passively waited for my school district to spoon feed to me.  It was then that, what I truly believe to have been divine intervention, lead me to Shelly Terrell and her Teacher ReBoot Camp 30 Goals Challenge.  My life since then has been a whirlwind of change because, as the magnificient Maya Angelou said, 

I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

Now, as an Incurably Curious Educator, I have made it my mission in life to do as Shelly did for me, EMPOWER others around me, whether they be students, other educators, parents or community members, to be MASTERS OF THEIR OWN LEARNING.  

This insatiable curiousity has lead what I liken to a butterfly breaking free of it's cocoon, leaving confining, restrictive school districts behind as I spread my wings and head in the direction of new adventures.  These changes have been anything but comfortable or easy.  It reminds me of the Butterfly Struggle story:

Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

            But neither happened!

The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly…

As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.

As you go through school, and life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.

And now I find myself once again, like many in my PLN, changing courses and flying in a new direction.  Even though I hate leaving the most amazing school I have ever worked in and am "leaving" the library, I am excited about the possibilities my new position as an Instructional Technology Facilitator holds.  One thing I am not feeling, however, is fear because I know that I have the love and support of my PLN.  A PLN of amazing educators who truly understand the gift of empowering others on their journey.

If you are ready to spread your wings and venture into new, yet unexplored territory, please join me on my adventure.  I will be working with 3rd and 4th graders to help deploy a 1:1 initiative with MacBook Airs. We are looking for amazing, out of the box, higher level SAMR, opportunities for learning, collaborating and connecting with a global community.