Friday, June 19, 2009

A Farewell - But Not Goodbye

Photo by H. Koppdelaney via Flickr
"Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends." - American Author Richard Bach
I write this feeling ambivalent, but nonetheless at peace. My colleagues at Bolton Elementary now know that I will not be back with them for the 2009-2010 school year. I accepted a generous offer to help open the newly-built Kimmel Farm Elementary. The process was a quick one, and it wasn't taken lightly. As I often do, I stayed up through the night and into the first hours of the next day pondering my future.

Ironically, a couple of months earlier our principal asked me point blank if I was going to apply for the Kimmel Farm job if it was open. Honestly, at that point in the year, I was so engaged with what we were doing at Bolton I had not even thought about working elsewhere. Then, out of nowhere, I received an email inviting me to interview for a possible position at Kimmel Farm. I realized then, I had to at least consider the possibilities. A few weeks went by after an initial interview and I had heard nothing. I put it out of my mind, thinking for one reason or another it wasn't an option.
Tuesday, the final week of school (with students) I returned a phone call and learned I had to make a choice - quickly. The next afternoon I accepted, and let our principal know my decision. She was very gracious through the entire process, which I greatly appreciate. I realize she took a chance on me when we decided to embark on the Teach21 journey (the hours of professional development, the expensive classroom makeovers, the belief in different methods of teaching), and it would not be the success it is without her leadership and commitment. But I also realized the process will continue on, and that the chance to begin the process again with a new faculty at a new school is something I very much want to do. It's a very unique opportunity.
As I presented an update on Teach21 one year after it began I said I believe what made it successful was that the team challenged the status quo, built a learning community that connected people, and that they committed to our cause. Those are no small accomplishments. We've all come a long way in a year, but all realize there's still a long way to go. That's just how it is in education. We can't stop moving forward, can't stop developing our ourselves as learning educators, can't stop trying new ways to develop our students into well-prepared 21st Century citizens.
As I move on to Kimmel Farm I don't really feel like I'm totally leaving Bolton. There's just too much of me invested there. I believe learning is social and connected and there's no reason, through the use of technology, that Bolton can't be connected to Kimmel Farm. I said I believe learning is shared and transparent - and that can happen at both these schools too. There's a genuine opportunity for student motivation right there. And I said I believe learning is rich in content and diversity, which technology brings to the classroom so well.
There hasn't been a year in my entire career when there wasn't change. People come and go, and with each new school year comes new professional relationships and new opportunities. It's been an honor to be your colleague, and I know I'm a better educator because of the many things I have learned from each and every one of you (Remember, learning - and teaching - is social and connected). I'm still learning.
I have always believed Bolton has talented educators. The unique element that comes through Teach21 are that there are ways to connect that talent into an especially powerful collaborative. I know Mrs. McMillan will be a wonderful Technology Facilitator, and Bolton will move forward through the use of her innumerable talents. She's already a gifted educator, but her desire to learn more and share it with others makes her perfectly suited for this job that changes by the minute.
This is my farewell, but not my goodbye. Remember, I'm just a text message, email, or Skype call away.

1 comment:

  1. Even if I didn't see you on a daily basis, I knew that I could always count on you to help me with issues that other Tech people never could/did help me with. I will truly miss you - the school and the daily dismissals just won't be the same.