What are your strengths, areas for improvement, challenges, successes in your current role?
Over the past month, I have had many other opportunities to think about the areas in which I excel or have room to grow. Just yesterday, I was at a meeting of other Instructional Technology Specialists in my district where we discussed a high and low for the year so far, and strategies we could use to have more highs, fewer lows. I'm also in the process of applying for grad school (EdD in Curriculum & Instruction, with a specialization in Educational Technology), so have had to reflect on my strengths and goals a lot in writing my letter of intent.
What I am starting to realize through all of this self-reflection is the importance of knowing who you are so that you can strive to be the best version of yourself. Don't try to be someone else or something you're not. While we should always keep learning and growing, that should be to improve who we are, NOT to become (or pretend to be) something we're not. My strength and my passion is learning and helping others learn. I do that now as an ITS, but my focus is not technology for technology's sake. My focus is on curriculum goals: what does the teacher want the student to know AND be able to do with that knowledge? Can technology help with those goals? If so, what is the best tool for the goal? If not, then what is the best tool?
Coming to this realization has given me the freedom to admit that I don't know what I call the "techy tech": the technical aspects of technology, how the Internet works, how to build a computer from scratch. There are parts of this that I need to know more about and that is a current challenge in my role. But I need to know it to be able to serve as the communication go-between with my teachers and the technicians that I work with and who save my skin all the time. I need to understand their language and then translate it for my teachers. In that way, it's not so different from what I did as a language teacher: translate advanced output into comprehensible input for non-native speakers. So I'm looking at it as learning a new language and makes it way less intimidating.
Often, our biggest challenges just need to be reframed in a way that makes them less intimidating. Like technology in the classroom for some, or French for others.
How can you reframe your challenge in a familiar and comfortable way that makes it easier to tackle?