Refocusing Purpose


I’ve spent the last couple years making my world bigger, now I’m going to make it smaller.  I’m refocusing, I’m dedicating myself to one purpose.

In the past couple years, I’ve spent a lot of time networking in order to learn more about teaching with the hopes of using what I’ve learned to help my students achieve more.  I came to the point where I had learned a lot and felt that I should share it with others who didn’t know as much about certain tools, or resources, or research, or methodologies as I did.  That’s fine.  That’s not a bad thing, and I’ve had a lot of fun presenting and working with people online.  However, I’ve lost a little focus along the way.

No longer was I looking to just learn more in order to better teach my students.  I have been trying to tackle too much.  I have high hopes of making online learning a viable option for students and schools across the country.  But, I have failed to do the one thing that really needs to be done ahead of all my other goals, get my students learning as much as they can in my classes. I spend so much time on my classes and really thought that I had been giving it my all, but to be honest, there is still more I can do.

I am refocusing my purpose.  Time that I spend at home on Twitter or in CR 2.0, I can use to call my kids.  Time that I spend preparing for conference presentations, I can spend building better examples for my online students.  Time that I have spent emailing and chatting with people in my networks, I can spend creating audio recordings for my lessons.  There is so much more that I can do to help my kids that I have to refocus all of my energy on that until I figure out what works.

The first couple weeks of school have been very dramatic, a lot has changed, budget cuts and a reemphasizing of fundamentals has overtaken our school.   These changes and challenges have made me really examine my goals for the year.

Instead of several wide ranging goals like I had last year, I’ve narrowed it down to one.  Just one little thing.  Nothing else.

Get all of my kids to pass all of my classes and learn to the best of their ability.  That’s it.

photo from Flick User: Scott Robbin

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  1. #1 by Michelle Baldwin on September 9, 2008 - 4:44 PM

    I think that’s the greatest goal you could possibly have, and I’m glad you have perspective about what’s important. Kudos.

    I do, however, wonder if you will be doing yourself a disservice by dropping out of your own personal learning network too much?? Don’t get me wrong… you’re right in the fact that your major efforts should be concentrated on the success of your students. Too much networking and collaborating can become excessive and a distraction. BUT, if used in moderation, won’t your students grow if you grow too? Just my two cents.

  2. #2 by Darren Draper on September 9, 2008 - 7:03 PM

    Getting all of your kids to pass all of your classes is easy. Aren’t you the one that assigns the grades?

    Now getting them to learn? That’s a different issue altogether. :)

    If it were me, I’d think twice before bugging out on your network.

  3. #3 by Cory Plough on September 9, 2008 - 7:53 PM

    @ Darren and Michelle – Eliminating my network altogether isn’t something I can do. However, I have to figure out how to use every minute of my available time for my kids, and if there is time left over then I can go back to learning from you guys. I understand the value of my PLC, but its only as valuable as the progress I get out of my students and if I’m not getting them to learn then…..

    I guess in other words, I can’t set aside time for speaking engagements, and participating in my PLC if I can spend that same time doing things that even more directly effect my students.

  4. #4 by Beth Still on September 11, 2008 - 7:45 PM

    Cory-
    You were the first person in my PLC. You are the one who was the catalyst that really got me into changing my teaching philosophy. You gave me many hours of your time and I am so greatful for that. My students are benefitting from your expertise.

    There were times when I could not believe how many things you were taking on at one time….multiple grad classes, extra online job, presentations. Not to mention all of the time you spent tinkering with new Web 2.0 tools. I was wondering when you were going to slow down.

    I hope you do not disappear completely. I can live without you on Twitter, but I really look forward to your blog posts. I want you to remember why you started this in the first place. I also hope you still spend some time in the online learning group you started in the CR20 Ning. We still need you!

    There is still tons for me to say, but I will save it for an email.

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