Starting out in the ADL program as someone who has been out of school for 30+ years has been both extremely difficult and exhilarating. I’ve been described in the past as someone who gets “itchy feet” every 3-5 years and looks for a new position, challenge, or adventure. I’m not afraid to learn something new; in fact I search out opportunities to do just that! What I am afraid of, however, is academic writing. Many times people have wondered why I didn’t have my masters, to which I replied, “I hate writing papers.” But much like a woman’s body forgets the pain of childbirth, my brain forgot the pain of academic writing and allowed me to begin this program. It would be so nice to say that it hasn’t been that bad and that my growth mindset has allowed me to develop an appreciation for writing. No such luck. 4 months in and hate is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel about all the writing. Dr. Bedard and Dr. Harapnuik can attest - my feedback is generally that I don’t say enough. Needless to say, Growth Mindset has helped me tremendously in dealing with this frustration. Instead of viewing that feedback as a personal failure, I see it as an opportunity to improve. Although I don’t expect to ever love writing, it is a necessary skill that I can develop. In step 4 of my Growth Mindset Plan I say, “I will seek out learning opportunities in areas that are challenging to me. I will also ask for help from those that I see as more skilled than I in those areas.” My study group of 8 wonderful educators is inspirational in that they are all amazing writers, and I use that as motivation to SAY MORE.
The COVA learning approach is hard to get accustomed to, especially for those of us that were educated sitting quietly in our rows and columns. After learning within the COVA framework for just a few weeks, I realized that it was really just putting a name to a pedagogy that I’d been striving for my whole career. In my Learning Manifesto, I compare our education system to a shoe store that only sells one style and size. I’m afraid our success at providing students with authentic learning experiences is comparable to the success of that fictional store - the ‘one size fits all’ curriculum fails just as miserably. Moving forward in the program, I expect to learn more about how to implement COVA in my position and encourage others to do the same.
Participating in Professional Learning Networks, or PLNs, has been useful in answering some of the ‘how do I?” questions that have plagued me in my position as a technology integrationist and now as an ADL student. Although I am mostly a consumer of information on the online networks, I have started thinking about being a more active participant. I also realized as I read my classmates’ discussion posts that I belong to more PLNs than I originally thought! I rejoined TCEA recently, I’m a certified Common Sense Educator, I’m a member of our Leader in Me Lighthouse Committee, and I help plan and lead PLC meetings for each grade level on campus. Considering that my Innovation Plan focuses on project based learning, I hope to join a PBL PLN soon (getting crazy with the acronyms).