I know I don’t really start until tomorrow, but I thought that I’d publish
one blog post today to try and create a little context for the things I’ll
probably say this week.
I’m a teacher. I had to make myself some business cards not long ago and I
struggled with what to put on them. Teacher is really a little
non-descript, in my mind at least. I eventually settled on “Educational
Interventionist.” That’s what I do; I intervene (as part of a larger team) in
situations where students aren’t succeeding in learning. Much of the time that
means doing the things that a special education teacher does. And after all,
that’s my actual title and my position at the moment. I’m the only special
education teacher at a very small elementary school. But the changes that were
made in 2004 to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mean that
I spend part of my day “intervening” with kids that haven’t been placed in
special education yet – and maybe will never be.
While my business card might say that I’m an Educational Interventionist, the
truth is that I’m an educator in the broadest sense. I’ve taught phonemic
awareness to kindergarten kids and math to fourth graders. I’ve worked with
special education students at the middle and secondary levels. I’ve taught a few
college classes as an adjunct. I’ve taught Sunday School at a Baptist church.
I’ve taught grammar and vocabulary to ESL students in both high school and
college. And I’ve taught senior citizens how to use a mouse and find their way
Along the way I’ve thought about what I do. When I took the Introduction to
Leadership at Marshall University some years ago, one of the things they
emphasized was professional reflection. I bought into that, and I suppose it is
one of the reasons I write about education (or anything else); writing helps me
reflect, helps me clarify my thoughts…
I’ve thought about why my school system can’t find the teachers it needs.
I’ve thought about how we treat students with disabilities and about why Johnny
(sometimes) can’t read. I’ve thought about vouchers and charter schools, about
scripted curriculums and the role of technology in our classrooms, about high
stakes testing and about where we go from here. And who will lead us there.
This week I hope to share some of those thoughts with you, to make you think
about what the issues really are. If you think leadership is primarily about
compliance and paperwork, about audits and personnel management, you’ll probably
find me at least vaguely annoying. If you think leadership is about vision and
purpose, about service and about shaping the future for the greater good of
society, I’d like to think you’ll find what I have to say thought provoking.
Well, I have to go get ready to watch the Super Bowl…
Greg Cruey, Guest Blogger