Friday, November 16, 2007

What Marvin Gaye Would Ask Me...

I feel like a deadbeat dad almost--like I have neglected my responsibilities to reflect. I haven't posted in nearly two weeks. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Why not? Several extremely lame reasons offer themselves up: no time, too much transition to the new gig, kids not sleeping, teachers needing assistance, database updating. All of them trumping each other for the lamest excuse for not writing. What it boils down to is the fact that I haven't been making the time to reflect, and this strikes me as odd in this crucial time in my career as I make a big change.

There are so many things were mentioning in this post, and in other posts that I have thought about writing, but the most pressing is that I am no longer going to be the Tech Coordinator for my district, but rather I have accepted a position as Director of Curriculum for Humanities. My role has drastically changed, and my time "in the saddle" will as well.

However, I was talking to a group of teachers today in a workshop about how blogging offers the unique ability for you to see how you have grown as a professional, as a writer, and as a thinker, and something occurred to me: this blog has pushed me to this point, more so than any other facet of my learning network. Here's why:

  • when I look back at my posts throughout the last year, the focus has shifted from solely technological issues to those of pedagogical and curricular issues. Instead of asking "what is the coolest tool?" I began to ask "how can this tool help a student take their learning to a new level?"
  • more and more, as I moved through this year, I focused on elements of change in a school environment.
  • as my network grew throughout the year, so did the effort level on my posts; not to say that I did not strive to write well, but it goes to common sense that if your audience grows, so then does the pressure to write well and provide reason for people to want to read you.
So now I am moving in a direction that I like to say I didn't foresee, but after some analysis and reflection, I should have seen coming. I wanted to thank all of the people who stop by here, all two of you (and one is my mother), and I hope you continue to challenge me and push my thinking to places and levels that I could not get to on my own.

Image Credit: 'Transitions transition" on candyls' photostream

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diane said...


To engage in a gross over-simplification, you've "moved" from tools to content, though both of your positions included elements of each.

You life is mirroring your [spiritual? philosophical?] growth in understanding.

I find that as I read and reflect on how things should be, I'm pushed to determine why they aren't that way, and what I needs to be done to remedy the situation. All of which I do imperfectly, of course!

Thanks for modeling the logical sequence of PD.

scmorgan said...

I love the questions you ask yourself--and your answers. I, too, am looking for time to reflect as my focus shifts. I look forward to reading more of what you have to say.

Melanie Holtsman said...

I'm not sure how long you have been blogging, but as a new blogger myself...I feel like that is where I am evolving too. The cool tools and ideas bring us to the party, but bringing depth to what we do by meeting the needs of 21st century learners is what pushes us to ask questions and stretch the boundaries. It sounds like your new job will continue to push you forward...I can't wait to learn more from you in the future.

Patrick Higgins said...


It is truly a shift from tools to content, but also to process. There is so much to think about when analyzing how students are learning, how they are performing, how teachers are teaching, and how to introduce change to those systems. Fortunately, in addition to the network that we are all plugging into, the people I work with are not solely focused on test scores, but rather on the development of analytical thinkers capable of solving tomorrow's complex problems. This was a prerequisite for me even applying for the job. After learning the way I have over the last year, there is no way I could enter into a situation that wasn't receptive to the changing skillset needed by our students.

Patrick Higgins said...


Thanks for the support. I've found over the last year or so that the questions are getting easier to ask, but the answers harder to realize!

Best of luck.

Patrick Higgins said...


I am glad you commented, as I showed your blog to a group of teachers the other day as an example of how the mixing of personal and professional can work well.

Chris Lehmann has done a lot, whether he knows it or not, to push my thinking in this direction. Being the principal of a school, and still being able to evaluate the art and science of teaching to the degree he does is inspiring.

It's a great thing to do to go back and review what you've done over the last year, and I am even thinking of a nice Christmas present to myself via of all of this year's posts in a bound book. Why not? It's not vain, it's learning! It's metacognition!

Clay Burell said...

Oh my goodness. Humanities. My subject area.

And next year I'll be humanities geek in the classroom again.

It's not an either/or, but a both/and. Here's to getting digitally humanistic with you next year :)

(and gimme a break with that "all two of you" schtick. You're hot property and you know it.)