“Anyone that keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” Kafka

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Can a seasoned veteran still teach in the 21st century?

After taking nine months off for a sabbatical to recharge my batteries, I find myself in a conundrum of wondering, “What do I do?”, “Where do I begin?” and “How do I instill all my new found knowledge into my teaching?” this fall.  I’ve spent the past school year in a much needed respite from the classroom.  Instead I have been refueling my intellect with classes in Technology, Creativity, Common Core Standards, as well as STEM initiatives.

This road to discovery has been full as well as fulfilling.  I’ve embarked on a technological journey of learning that was rigorous as well as enlightening.  I am now able to communicate with students of the 21st century through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Blogging.   And I’ve delved into the recesses of right/left brain thinking, advocacy of the arts, and blogging for educators.

Today educators are required to take students through school to become innovative and creative individuals of the 21st century.  My concern has been if I would be able to lead them effectively on this new path of discovery.  Do I know enough about technology, do I understand the Common Core; am I meeting the STEM outcomes?

The lingo is new, the timing is pertinent, and the students are young and savvy. Has education really changed so much that I have forgotten how to teach the pupils of today?  Merriam Webster defines a student as an attentive and systematic learner.  They are children who are inquisitive and explorative in nature that want to play and create.  They work to achieve goals and praise that builds confidence to become tomorrow’s leaders.

Yes, the buzz words may have changed and some techniques may be different. This is a phenomenon that has happened throughout the history of education – it is ever-changing. But the process is the same.  Therefore, my mission is the same.  Whether it is through Twitter, You Tube, or the latest STEM initiative I will continue to do my job…..to instill the love of learning.

How is being a project manager like teaching?

A friend of mine recently purchased a large Victorian home in a small town.  His intent was to turn this lovely icon into his workplace, i.e., law offices.  One afternoon I joined him and his wife for lunch where they began to share with me what has be a lifelong dream of owning their own office space and expanding their practice with their son. .

Talk quickly turned to the building and keeping the flavor of the Victorian home while creating an inviting non-sterile office space.  Doing what all good teachers do, I asked questions, posed problems, and showed interest in what seemed to be an insurmountable task.

Before the entrée was complete, we were talking about architecture, colors, and the reasons for staying true to Historical Society’s requirements.  By the time the check came, I found myself saying yes to a project that would consume my thoughts, dreams, and time for the next nine months.

Contractors, electricians, painters and such were asking me to make decisions.  Budget and ADA requirement codes were being assessed. Soon, I began to wonder, how did this happen to someone that offered to choose paint colors and how can an elementary art teacher become a project manager?

Now, as I sit back and take in the fruits of my labor, I have to ask myself in what ways these two jobs strangely similar.

10 ways that being a project manager is like being a teacher:

1.       Have patience.

2.       Bring together a group of people to complete the task.

3.       Follow a schedule and keep a deadline.

4.       Organize supplies within a budget.

5.       Submit plans for approval.

6.       Make decisions on the spot.

7.       Communicate with superiors on a regular basis.

8.       Be flexible and make changes when necessary.

9.       Work and manage many different personalities.

10.   Enjoy yourself!

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