The reason I came to teach at Castlemaine North Primary School was that I wanted to know what was possible when you combined a great school, with hard-working teachers and open-minded students, with my passion for technology. Two years later, I think I have my answer.
Pretty much anything is possible. The highlights of the last two years would be too numerous to mention... but a video-enabled maths course enabling students to work at ten different levels simultaneously;, having seven different inquiry questions running simultaneously with a team of on-line scientists, historians, and other experts being contacted by our students independently of their teachers; and having a global writing club with students from five countries all stand out as examples of what can happen when a vision, great teachers, and technology all come together.
And so, I've decided to end my role as a classroom teacher at the end of this year.
In 2012, I will be an eLearning coach at Castlemaine North, working two days a week. The rest of my time I will divide between being a dad to my daughter, and trying to establish myself as a consultant, to assist schools to do similar things for learning as we have done.
The reasons for this decision are many. The first, and most important is my wonderful daughter. I want to play a significant role in her growing up, particularly before she starts school. The second is that I don't think a pure classroom teacher role is for me - that is no disrespect to the role, but more an acknowledgement that it is difficult to have an impact beyond your own classroom when you have no other role other than classroom teacher. I think the classroom will always be the epicentre of my thoughts and ideas. But the time pressures of running a classroom make innovation, and the sharing of that innovation, very difficult. I aspire to empower others to use technology to personalise learning for their students.
I understand that the idea of being a consultant is far-fetched. I am fully prepared to fail on that front. I invite you all to come laugh at me in twelve months' time. But I do believe in it as an idea. I think working in several schools would really enrich what we already do. Imagine our Virtual Experts working with students in several schools rather than one. Imagine a Writers' club with thousands of budding authors, rather than hundreds. And if I don't get a single day's work, I can pick up some emergency teaching and spend more time with my daughter. There are worse things in the world.
So with three weeks left as a teacher, I feel excited by what could happen in 2012. I will get to remain with Castlemaine North, helping the teachers to take the reins of the things I've started. I'll be working towards a far-fetched but exciting dream. And I'll get to spend more time with my daughter.
I can't wait.