For quite some time I have been wrestling with the idea of defining who I am within this new professional role I have. For so long I could be defined simply by saying I was a teacher, and I fostered learning opportunities in children every day. It was simple, yet profound, but easily identified. Fast forward to the last year of my life. As an instructional technology consultant, I work with directors, administrators, teachers, students, parents, vendors, & universities. My expertise ranges from instruction, to everything Google and Apple can bring to the table for learning. That being said, I haven’t jumped in line to become an ADE or a GCT. I look at those around me who do, and have envied them for knowing exactly where they fit in within this profession.
Over the last month however, I have really started connecting the dots. After the iPad Pilot I worked with in the spring, I had a lot to think about in reflection. I didn’t leave that experience excited about apps or devices. I left it thrilled with what kind of teacher leadership I had helped to foster. I was thrilled with what kind of comfort and growth I saw happening with the teachers and the students. What mattered to me was the leadership and change I was able to be a part of. It wouldn’t have mattered if those iPads had been Chromebooks, or Nexus Tablets… because the platform wasn’t key.
In May I blogged about this very experience and linked a short video based off Daniel Pink’s book Drive. It defined two main points. First, we all needed to find our “sentence”. The phrase that defines who were were, and what we do. Second, at the end of every day, we need to look back and decide if we did it better than we had the day before. That was profound for me, as it made me realize I hadn’t defined my sentence, therefore making it pretty impossible to decide if I was doing it better each day. I was determined to define it.
Today, I am happy to say I have my sentence. I won’t tell you that it is forever and always who I will be, as I believe as we learn and grow, our sentence will evolve as well. To drive it all home, this tweet from my sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha reminded me that the values instilled in me as a member of that organization, aligns wholeheartedly to my professional path as well. By defining my personal value, I will be able to find my authentic confidence, therein becoming a better leader. I am thrilled to embrace this idea more next week when I serve as a facilitator at Alpha Sigma Alpha’s Leadership Development Institute in Pittsburgh.
My sentence is this – Jaime Vandergrift fosters leadership and professional learning growth among fellow educators within digital literacy.
What is your sentence?
In case you need some inspiration – Here is the link to that video. Perhaps it will help you too!