“There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.”
– Attributed to Nancy Kassebaum
Some time ago I signed up to be notified when the Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) program would be beginning this year and recently received that notification. After reading through the requirements (not onerous) and the process I stopped and did some thinking, ultimately deciding not to go through the process of applying to become an ADE this year.
I stumbled on this article by Stephanie Thompson (@TraintheTeacher) and subsequently read through each of ADE-based articles. It got me to thinking about why I wanted to undertake the program. I am already good with technology in the class and have had lots of positive comments about that aspect of my teaching, so I do not need the help of learning the technology. I do not think it would actually lend any weight to applications for permanent teaching positions (though it would be a nice feather in the cap) and I can think of areas of opportunity that would provide far better benefit to my students as a professional development focus.
I realised that it was a badge that I have seen and respect as it implies a high level of knowledge and in some circles, respect. It was something I wanted to do because I felt that it might serve as proof that I am not a fraud when I talk about teaching and technology and it occurred to me that it would not actually achieve those goals and at this point in time, I was wanting to undertake the program for the wrong reasons.
I need to focus on my pedagogy and classroom management skills, my time and organisation skills. I am also teaching on Stage One, a group I have not previously taught and accordingly have a significant amount of professional learning to do this year simply to do my job to what I feel is an acceptable standard. In that, I am blessed to be job-sharing with someone whom I know has vast experience with this Stage and whom I also know socially. Further to that, we are in a team-teaching context with our Stage Assistant Principal who has been nothing but understanding and helpful thus far.
I will certainly be looking at the ADE program, but not this year.