Questioning My Qualifications

Another post today has me questioning my qualifications to talk about the My Wired Life main topic: technology integration in education.

This post is from a tech director as a letter to Will Richardson. Read the full post for the whole story, but my main takeaway from the post is that anyone not currently in the classroom shouldn’t say anything about education and classrooms.

I gotta admit, this one punches me in the gut — HARD.

I am a former teacher, but it has been years. I’ve been out of formal education for a long time. How can I possibly even think about opening my mouth about what I think about the role of technology in the classroom?

I worry about this – a lot. It really bothers me, and I know I’m not taken seriously, being a parent, and not a current classroom teacher. I know it means I have little “cred” when I talk to teachers and administrators. I know that’s why I get the door politely shut in my face. Even in my work (where I have been studying educational technology fulltime for almost two years) I know I have little “cred” because I’m not teaching.

I often wonder I keep doing this. Something keeps propelling me to be so passionate about moving schools to teach 21st century skills, to integrate technology, to make changes. Why? Because I’ve been motivated by amazing teachers. I’ve seen their work, I’ve seen their success. They’ve motivated me to keep going.

I am convinced that my employer needs to keep moving in the direction to provide digital content. It’s where schools need to move. I am lucky – I have the time to do all this research. I have time to communicate with teachers all over the country through social media, blogs, conferences and more. My ideas come from integrating what all these amazing people talk about.

These amazing teachers that have convinced me to keep going on this have given me what I need to know I’m qualified — they made ME think outside the box. Everyone needs someone to push them a little to think differently. No matter what job we have, we need to keep learning, keep looking for new ideas and new answers. We need someone to keep pushing us to move outside our comfort zone. If I only listened to people who work in my specific field, or  in my department, I’d be stuck in a rut. It would be boring, I’d be bored and never learn new things.

While I’m not in the classroom, I can still respect the struggles and constraints placed on teachers. I think anyone who sticks with teaching is an amazing, dedicated person. The job is relentless and unforgiving. The demands are unrealistic. I see that – it’s obvious, even from a parent point of view.

While I know  that in the eyes of those who think only teachers can have any thoughts about teaching my qualifications are limited and my credibility is zilch, I will still keep talking. As a parent and an informal educator, I, too, have a stake in education. We all do.

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