A good friend of mine has told me on many occasions, “No fear, no hope”, and this has become one of my favorite mantras. As a school leader who has developed the conviction that schools need to be transformed, this statement makes so much sense to me. Eddie Acorsi who paraphrased Joe Paterno states, “if you have a conviction, then you take the risk.” My conviction is that our students should have the type of education that is relevant to today’s world. While a major component for this type of education is the ubiquitous access to technological tools, I’m certain that there are many other changes involved. Based on this passion and conviction I’m prepared to handle the healthy level of fear that will most definitely arise over the following situations.
- Convincing stakeholders that these changes will require additional funding and/or the redistribution of funds.
- Tackling the skeptics who demand to know how the changes will positively impact student learning.
- Making personnel decisions that will promote this change initiative.
- Standing up in front of stakeholders and letting them know that my vision for our schools is continually developing and that I don’t have all of the answers.
- Discussing and taking action on the balance between restricting and educating students and teachers on the responsible and appropriate use of technology.
Why am I prepared to live with this type of fear?
Those of you who attended NECC this year may recognize this sign from the Trapeze school seemed to be a popular place in downtown DC. There were students, young and old, practicing every time I walked by the school. I imagine that the rush that the trapeze students face is much like the one I get when I witness students using technology to do things in the classroom that would not be possible without the technology. For example, I love seeing students collaborating on meaningful projects with individuals half way around the world, using technology just as scientists would in a lab, and making sense of difficult concepts by using cutting edge tools. A teacher helping a student achieve that ah-ha learning moment is just as exciting for me as when the trapeze student lets go of the bar and he/she lands into the arms of his/her partner. I’ve become addicted to the experiences and these moments provide me with hope for the future.
I’d love to hear more thoughts on the ideas of fear, hope, addiction and conviction.