A friend once told me that I have an artist’s mind, random and all over the place. While it was a nice way to put it, what she was really telling me was I lack focus. I’ve always hopped from project to project, idea to idea. It’s difficult for me to stay tuned in to one thing for any length of time.
Last weekend I had a chat with Irene Latham on the steps of the State Museum at the Louisiana Book Festival. We were talking about conferences. She said she realized she could be a conference junkie but questioned whether that would serve her mission. Her mission? Yes, Irene has a mission statement. Don’t we all? She wrote about how to find your own mission statement in her post on Smack Dab in the Middle.
The first question, “Who do you admire?” reminded me of a process my friend Kimberley talked about; Find the person who is doing what you want to do and find out how they got there. In other words, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
When creating a mission statement, I had to consider my personality type. I really care what people think of me. It’s a fault, except that it keeps me behaving in ways that are kind and thoughtful. I want others to respect me, so I respect them. Not a bad way to be. It’s tough when I chew on an incident for a long time. I’m not good at letting things go.
What does this all have to do with digital literacy and teaching? In creating a mission statement, a focus for my life, I see clearly that I want to empower others to be the best they can be. I want to bring creativity into the world. Through my teaching and writing, I can be both wind and wings.
My students worked all week on their podcasts. They created scripts from their research and collaborated on making something creative and new. Yet, the learning curve was high. I wasn’t sure we could meet it. I am still waiting on tech help from our district department; however, the glitches didn’t really bother the kids. They understand that’s all part of making something new in this digital world.
When I reflect on the projects we do in my class, I realize the ones that encourage the strongest focus are ones that are highly creative, honor choice, and are student-driven. My classroom mission statement is not that different from my personal mission statement. Margaret and Mrs. Simon walk hand in hand to find their focus and meaning in this world.
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