There's a love song performed by Michael Bublé and Nelly Furtado that I hadn't heard in a while until it miraculously started playing in my head this afternoon. Now I can get it out. It's a curious thing, really. Lost in the depths of our brains are memories, songs, skills, and dreams that occasionally pop back out - seemingly from of nowhere.
That particular song takes me back to the year I proposed to my wife. It was our first of ten years in California and we would listen to it, and many other tunes, in the car as we explored our new home in the East Bay. I hadn't taken Spanish in high school, a major regret, and I had only a semester's worth in college. Cuando was one of the words that had somehow found a place to latch into my brain. Perhaps because I knew I wanted to marry her and she didn't know when I'd ask.
When is a word I have heard a lot recently. It is also a word I have thought about a lot recently. Until I started singing the duet aloud this afternoon, I had not realized how deeply I needed an answer to the question - or, rather, the questions.
We are nearing the end of a long iPad deployment. The process has been one of tedium, excitement, and patience. I cannot begin to surmise the number of times I have heard some version of these statements.
"When are we getting our iPads?"
"When do you expect to deliver our iPads?"
"When will the iPads be ready?"
You get the idea. When is on our mind.
At the same time I hear about the desire for more integration support as the devices are deployed, and the whens keep coming.
"When will there be dedicated PD time for tech?"
"When will be paid for the time we get trained?"
"When will you be showing us ______?"
When is, again, the major question.
I hear you. I feel for you. I understand.
At the same time I have my own when questions. Spending days seeking apps, developing projects, and preparing to be of service in your classroom leaves me wondering when.
"When aren't we busy?"
"When is an acceptable time to offer training and support?"
"When can I work with your students?"
It's an interesting and sometimes lonely bubble to be in as an integrationist. I am supported in my own space as a teacher, proud union member, unintentional IT help, curriculum designer, support provider, and I am under the direction of administration.
Often times it's up to me to be assertive and make things happen. This is usually a good thing and has led to some amazing opportunities for our students, teachers, and district. Sometimes, I cross unknown and/or imaginary lines and cause folks to be upset (I've had my own union called on my desire to work with and support your tech needs). It leaves me wondering, just like you, when will the time be right if you don't make it right.
I proposed to my wife in Blue Rock Springs Park atop Peacock Hill. From the looks of things online, it appeared to be a very romantic place - overlooking San Pablo Bay, the Golden Gate barely visible to the west, Sonoma and Napa Valleys stretching to our North and East respectively. The sun would set over the hazy outline of San Francisco. We hiked up the large hill to try geocaching and enjoy the view.
Instead of the romantic space I had envisioned, we found steep slippery slopes, rusty barbwire, skies so hazy we could barely discern the outline of the bay, and a plethora of cow pies. I nearly bailed on the idea of proposing in this place. We were tired, sweaty, and disappointed that we could not find the geocache.
It was crunch time - and I chose to be assertive. I pretended that I had found the geocache, but really I had the ring box.
Right now, because this is important to me. The rest is history.
I see and hear my colleagues working tirelessly to support their student's learning.
I see and hear IT working tirelessly to support our teachers as they support their student's learning.
I see and hear curriculum exploring, planning, and providing materials and support for our teachers to support our student's learning.
I see and hear administration planning, meeting, and doing their best to support teachers and students in learning.
Everyone is so busy. But as an educator - that's all I've ever known. I cannot recall a time where things were just easy and unchanging. Was there a time when educators weren't busy? Truly. In a way, I hope not.
When happens when we make it happen.
When happens when we know it's in the best interests of our students.
When will we collaborate, integrate, and innovate?
Let's assert ourselves now and agree that when... is right now. The rest is the history we make together.
For now, when will I get that song out of my head. Cuando?!?!
If you're curious... Here's the official geocaching log entry from the day I proposed.
Andrew G. Leiser