Achieving goals

Way back in January, while poking fun at the bloggers’ habit of posting their resolutions at the end of a calendar year, I shared my goals for 2011 which I termed my “Future Five“.  These included more writing and traffic for this blog, and improving my lesson plans.

One goal that I had kept quiet was a professional challenge that I had set for myself.   I had decided after a decade of teaching that I was ready to engage in a bigger project for professional development and the benefit of my students.  I knew just how to achieve this: a Kenan Fellowship.

In my early years of teaching at my current school, a close friend and extremely talented teacher became a Fellow and I learned about the program from her.  Kenan Fellowships are given to classroom educators to pair up with mentors from academia or industry to develop new curricula around the emerging skills needed for the modern workplace.  Fellows are paid a generous appropriate stipend over eighteen months to perform research at the mentor’s location and develop units of instruction.  The experience culminates with a presentation at the conference of professional organization in the fall of the second year.

When the new 2011-2012 fellowships were announced last fall, I scanned the list for a topic that grabbed my attention.  My jaw dropped when I saw a fellowship with Cisco Systems entitled,

“Global Collaboration in the Classroom”

What an awesome concept to write lessons about, right?  And who better to learn from than an international networking hardware and software company that makes everything from wireless routers (I bet yours says “Cisco” on it! Go ahead, check.) to fancy high-definition video-conferencing (telepresence) systems.  Their company practices collaboration on various levels from within their buildings to across the globe.  I knew that they would have real-world ideas that could be translated into meaningful lessons for middle school students.

So, I applied.

And then, I waited.  In March, I was invited to interview.  It was stressful.  I mean, since applying for my first (and current) teaching job, I haven’t had to interview for anything.  But, the interview went well and last month I got my acceptance letter.

To say that I am excited is a massive understatement.  My plan is to use Scripted Spontaneity to reflect on the process and preview some of my work as the Fellowship progresses.  I hope that my readers will enjoy learning about Cisco, collaboration, and the Kenan Fellowships along the way.  Be sure to check back (or better yet, subscribe to the RSS feed), and engage in the discussion.

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