I know I don't really start until tomorrow, but I thought that I'd publish one blog post today to try and create a little context for the things I'll probably say this week.
I'm a teacher. I had to make myself some business cards not long ago and I struggled with what to put on them. Teacher is really a little non-descript, in my mind at least. I eventually settled on "Educational Interventionist." That's what I do; I intervene (as part of a larger team) in situations where students aren't succeeding in learning. Much of the time that means doing the things that a special education teacher does. And after all, that's my actual title and my position at the moment. I'm the only special education teacher at a very small elementary school. But the changes that were made in 2004 to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mean that I spend part of my day "intervening" with kids that haven't been placed in special education yet and maybe will never be.
While my business card might say that I'm an Educational Interventionist, the truth is that I'm an educator in the broadest sense. I've taught phonemic awareness to kindergarten kids and math to fourth graders. I've worked with special education students at the middle and secondary levels. I've taught a few college classes as an adjunct. I've taught Sunday School at a Baptist church. I've taught grammar and vocabulary to ESL students in both high school and college. And I've taught senior citizens how to use a mouse and find their way around Windows.
Along the way I've thought about what I do. When I took the Introduction to Leadership at Marshall University some years ago, one of the things they emphasized was professional reflection. I bought into that, and I suppose it is one of the reasons I write about education (or anything else); writing helps me reflect, helps me clarify my thoughts...
I've thought about why my school system can't find the teachers it needs. I've thought about how we treat students with disabilities and about why Johnny (sometimes) can't read. I've thought about vouchers and charter schools, about scripted curriculums and the role of technology in our classrooms, about high stakes testing and about where we go from here. And who will lead us there.
This week I hope to share some of those thoughts with you, to make you think about what the issues really are. If you think leadership is primarily about compliance and paperwork, about audits and personnel management, you'll probably find me at least vaguely annoying. If you think leadership is about vision and purpose, about service and about shaping the future for the greater good of society, I'd like to think you'll find what I have to say thought provoking.
Well, I have to go get ready to watch the Super Bowl...
Greg Cruey, Guest Blogger