This is the first of three posts in gratitude for the people who are making a difference in my professional and personal development journey.
“If you don’t know you need others, you don’t know much.” – Dan Rockwell
For the last fifteen years, I have had the privilege of working at an institute that not only greatly values but also fosters professional development among teachers and administrators. Even before becoming a supervisor, I’d been listening to Carla Arena, our Educational Technology expert, go on about the endless possibilities that technology offers us in order to optimize the learning experiences of our students. I can clearly remember the feeling whenever I walked out of her countless training sessions – a mixture of eagerness to engage, to productively incorporate technology in my lessons, and an awkward perplexity, a sort of ‘overwhelmedness’, which would then result in my ineffectiveness at putting any of those ‘tech’ intentions into practice.
Five years ago, I became a supervisor and I kept on drinking from Carla’s well of vast tech knowledge – via formal training sessions and via informal conversations between cohorts. Little did I know that the tiny seed Carla had planted over a decade ago would finally begin to blossom in me – and indeed it did – fifteen years later. It was another colleague and friend of mine, Ronaldo Lima Jr, who introduced me to the wonders of Twitter. I must say, however, that it did not sink in until about a couple of months ago, when it finally dawned on me that Twitter could actually be a powerful professional (and personal) development tool. It had been over a year since Ronaldo literally sat down with me and showed me the Tweet basics, going as far as even sharing with me a list of his own crème-de-la-crème followees, a handful of Tweeple he read and admired.
Flash forward 15 years…
Let me add yet another layer to this story. It involves a feedback session on my 2013 self-evaluation as course supervisor, skillfully delivered by my academic superintendent Isabela Villas Boas and head supervisor Katia Falcomer, in which they went on about all of my managerial strengths and skills, thanking me for my dedication and effort, but also proposed a reflection: how active had I been as a teacher trainer? That brought up questions such as ‘why didn’t I become more engaged in teacher-training projects of my own?’ and ‘what was I waiting to become a presenter in our institute’s annual seminar?’ and even ‘how engaged was I to my own professional development?’
Something’s gotta give…
I went home for my recess holidays with more questions than answers. I didn’t know where to start. I let it all simmer for a couple of days, and as I did so, I felt compelled to give Twitter another go. Little did I know (again!) that I’d be taking the definitive leap right there and then. There would be no going back after that. I was in it for quite a treat! I came across George Couros‘s blog The Principal of Change (part of Ronaldo’s crème de la crème) and after perusing it for a little while, I thought “what an interesting person! Let me watch his TEDx Talk.” It was as if he was talking to me. George Couros had finally helped me determine what was it exactly that I was soul searching for: my VOICE.
‘Way too many questions to my answers’ by Németh Szilvia is licensed under CC by 2.0
Thank you Dan, Carla, Ronaldo, Isabela, Katia and George.