Friday, June 6, 2008

Summer Tech. Camp Reflections & the 4th “R”

Well, we just finished day 2 of our summer tech. camp, and I am trying to objectively look at how these two days went.

This was my first time doing any kind of summer camp/institute/thing, and (while exhausting) I think it was one of the most positive and rewarding things I've experienced as a technology coordinator. I must acknowledge that I was extremely fortunate in being able to collaborate with other tech. coordinators in my district, so I wasn't flying solo. I can't imagine putting something like this on myself.

But having taught classes before, why did this particular experience seem so much more fulfilling? I think it has to do with something Rodd Lucier mentioned in one of his podcasts ("Achieving the Fourth 'R' through Archeological Twine"). In addition to the "usual" Rs, Lucier asks what teachers do about the "4th R," relationships with students. We, as staff developers, should ask the same question. Are we building relationships with our teachers in addition to building knowledge & skills?

To me, the absolute best thing about doing these sessions was being able to spend time with some outstanding teachers (& tech. coordinators) both from my building & from other schools. (BTW, the group from my school is a fantastic group of people -- I honestly couldn't have hand-picked a better group.) There's just something about being together as a group (outside the contract day) that is magical. That is what made the difference for me.

The two parts I miss most about the classroom are a) having relationships with a class of students and b) having professional relationships with colleagues. Teaching is an isolating profession; being a technology coordinator is even more lonely. But for two days, I got to experience that connectedness again.  Totally worth it.

We have Day 3 in August, and I am very much looking forward to getting together again.  I expected to feel satisfied with the sessions that we presented, but I didn't anticipate the camaraderie.  So, a big thanks to everyone who made my first summer tech. camp feel like "camp."  See you in August!