“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” By John F. Kennedy
I often put myself in situations where I am uncomfortable in order to learn. Key words…I put myself there. For example, grad school, starting my own business or pitching an idea at #edcamp. I was uncomfortable and nervous during those situations but I had also chosen to be apart of them.
Recently I accepted a new position, for a few months, as a Project Manger for the NextGen Systems Initiative Grant. This job chose me; I am excited about it because it is something I believe in and am passionate about. With this grant we are able to start diving into goal one of our strategic plan for 2018. Our goal one states ‘we need to maximize academic achievement in a personalized 21st century learning environment for every child to graduate college and career ready. The key strategies are (1) to establish a personalized plan of progress through an electronic portfolio that follows every student K-12 to ensure that students reach college and career goals and (2) Infuse 21st century skills framework to support Common Core State Standards.’
I have learned a lot because I have felt uncomfortable and unsure of myself through this journey and I know I will only continue to learn more. Below are 3 lessons I have learned so far….
1. My first lesson came when I had to let go of my typical job of going into schools and helping teachers integrate technology into the curriculum (which I love). I had to delegating them to someone else. I had worked so hard at building relationship with the schools and teachers, I didn’t want to lose that. I felt uncomfortable in ‘giving them up’ and trusting someone else. But from this I learned that even if something did happen with a school, it was not a reflection of myself or my work.
2. My second lesson came from working with the education consulting company we were paired up with to help guide us for the grant. When I talked with them on the phone for the first time, I was so overwhelmed with all the ‘business lingo terms’ I could barely keep up with the conversation. I had to write down so many words so I could later google them to figure out what they were talking about. I felt dumb and uncomfortable and even started second guessing myself if I was the right one for this position. I quickly realized I was using my inexperience and ‘uncomfortableness’ as an excuse. I started asking questions about the words I didn’t know and it registered they didn’t know things too. It was a great reminder lesson of how we all can learn from each other, especially when we have different education/job backgrounds.
3. My third lesson and I think most important so far came when I conducted my first focus group. It was hard to be neutral and not to say my beliefs or educational philosophy. I had to bite my tongue and really take a step back and realizing not everyone wants whats best for students but they want what’s easier for them. I was also taken back by how many teachers are still scared of technology taking over their jobs. I concluded, the biggest hurdle was going to be getting teachers to shift their mind-set of their teaching to better prepare our students.
This position has not only helped me gain leadership skills but also learn how to be a project manager. I am excited to see what else I learn over the next few months and welcome feeling uncomfortable.