Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Feeling Brand New

My habit of apologizing for being away from this blog too long has to stop.  I will be more consistent.  Believe it or not, I miss it when I don't regularly connect with others through this forum.  This time, like the other times, my absence was directly related to activities at work.  Things have shifted tremendously at work, for the better, and I am more psyched than my nerdy girl heart can handle.  First, I accepted a new position, in a new building, which has a newer design model to be better suited to a newer vision we are following.  By trade, I am an instructional technology specialist in a large school district.  By nature, I am an all around geek.  You know those hopeless nerds that read tech reviews for fun?  Yep, that's me.  I have not one, but two big tech conferences coming in the next few months and I can't wait.  Right now, I am loving my job, but it has not always been that way.

Although I got into the field because of my combined love of techie tools and working with kids, recent years kept me from enjoying both.  The focus of my job was distorted by other demands that made me feel more like a 24/7 desktop repair guy instead of a certified educational specialist.  That is changing rapidly because my district is adjusting it's vision to more 21st century methods of instruction.  It includes such an extensive list of changes that I my fingers would be numb by the time I typed it all out here.  The most gratifying of all the changes will be the addition of new personnel.  Two years ago, my department suffered major cuts and several talented team members were let go as a result.  Their absence was felt immediately, first because we were a very tight knit supportive group and second because others had to take up the workload that was left behind.  We'd lost our friends and it hurt.  We felt like chumps having to go back to our campuses and fake enthusiasm for improvements that just were not happening.

Another reason my love for my job was waning was because we were stagnant.  To be the technology leaders in our district, we were not doing anything very innovative.  Budget issues, "old school" thinking and fear of the unknown helped create the collective stall in which we found our department.  This was the result of several interwoven undesirable factors, most of which have now been cleared from our playing field.  Now it feels like we have opened our eyes from a long slumber and are energized to take on the world.  We feel relevant again and being experts in our EdTech field (educational technology) is suddenly cool again.  Being the nerdy computer geek in the room is now the sought after status.  There are the promises of new tech toys, better applications and a vision befitting the group of innovators we hope to become.  I personally plan to go after a few choice certifications and add some new skills to my own EdTech toolbox during the summer break.  Doing what I do is fun again and I find myself eager to get to work to share with my staff all the new tricks I have learned.

The home front has been going through some changes as well.  The hubby and I are knee deep into a major remodeling project that may span several months.  The extended time frame is due to funds, not the scale of the job.  I am not ashamed to say the new floors, the new paint and the new kitchen are being added one at a time so we can afford each addition in small chunks.  It feels like our house has been under construction for  months, but I will be thrilled to see the finished results.  All of these changes and improvements even inspired me to get off my butt and start back running.  I took a break a couple of months ago because I was suffering from good old fashioned burnout.  Running is a purely therapeutic escape for me.  I am not competitive or very serious about it, but I do love it.  When it stops being fun, I stop the running and take a break.  The problem is, when this self-imposed break is over, I have to start over with my training as if I am a newbie runner and the process is painful.  Painful yes, but not at all impossible.

I've had the pleasure of sitting on the interview panel that is screening the new instructional technology specialists for my district.  These individuals,young and not so young, are full of energy and fresh ideas.  They are ready to start their next chapter in life and it has the old seasoned veteran in me pumped to get things underway.  I am going to try my hardest to allow that enthusiasm to spill over into my running this season.  If an old nerdy girl can learn a few tricks, then surely the runner inside her can learn a few as well.  For one of the first times in my life, I feel that change is good and I am going to take it for all it is worth.  If I make it through these changes unscathed, then maybe I can call on this experience to get myself through whatever hurdles are still yet to come.  After all, I now understand that nothing lasts forever, not the bad or the good. 

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