Tuesday August 3, 2010 was our first day of professional development. Really, it was our first day of GCE Chicago High School. Fifteen years of professional experience lead me to this day – the day when a group of instructors, staff, and advisory board members came together to begin the process of taking hold of an individual’s vision and start crafting a shared vision, a community of learners, and models for learning and teaching.
I’m amazed and humbled by how quickly our staff opens up to one another. Meaningful exchanges of ideas, connections, and possibilities flow almost immediately. It seems to me that each staff member has already bought into some element of GCE and that they come to the party eager for additional elements and ready to share the ones they’ve discovered. I am humbled by how quickly they TRUST.
I try to temper their expectations and concerns so that the burden of creating curriculum, building our networks, beautifying the facilities, establishing systems and protocols, and the thousand other tasks that go into forming the foundations of our school do not seem so overwhelming. I want for staff to find the balance between feeling pressure to prepare and knowing when to let go. I want for them to build their lives, not just their jobs.
On a more personal level, I find my role immensely broad; I struggle to write my own job description. I am the GCE visionary; that much is clear. I see hundreds of students, families, staff, and partners. I see the GCE Models for Learning and Teaching. I see civic engagement and classroom dialogue and field experience and digital portfolios. And I see all of these aspects of GCE inspiring thousands of people who are separated by one to six degrees.
And my vision is grounded by reality. Today I serve each and every individual in the most basic ways – creating a new email address, faxing documents, reviewing curriculum ideas, meeting with contacts after hours, emailing back and forth with families in the enrollment process, ordering lunch, preparing the classroom, and always, always eating too many cookies.
After one day I feel good about my emphasis on trusting the process and accepting that no matter how much information is introduced, it must still settle, be tested, and only then accepted and replicated. After one day I feel good about our team – honest, passionate, eager, experienced, diverse, and deeply committed to learning.