Can you look back on a time of your life that feels like it was so long ago and at the same time like it just happened yesterday? Maybe it was launching a new career or meeting a new friend for the first time. One of those moments for me was embarking upon the Kenan Fellows journey. Applying, acceptance, and my internship all seem like a long time ago and also like only the blink of an eye has passed. Life keeps on moving quickly, and during the course of a school year there is a necessary shift in priorities. I haven’t always had the time to reflect about this pivotal experience, but in this chilly month of January, I’m now taking a moment to look back and see just how far I’ve come.
One area I’ve seen high growth in has been in my collaborative activities. My interactions with peers and administrators have been more focused and meaningful due to the work I’ve accomplished in the institutes and with my cohort. I’ve learned so much about collaborating with a group effectively, and most of what I’ve learned has been through the lens of self-knowledge. We were provided with our Myers-Briggs personality analysis at the Summer Institute, and it was an eye-opening look at what my strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to working with others (Shout out to my ENFJs!). I also learned so much about myself in high pressure situations. As part of the CMS cohort, we were not only making our own projects, but also making sure that all of our projects fit together as a cohesive package for the district. Naturally, we all navigated several conversations about a vision and direction for our projects, and this experience gave me more confidence and poise when approaching similar collaborative projects back at school.
Beyond my more introspective changes, I can also celebrate seeing my sphere of collaborators growing larger and larger. In my years of teaching so far, my reach has slowly expanded. My first years in the classroom, my goal was to influence my students. Mastering classroom management and instruction was my concern. For the next couple of years, my influence expanded as I began taking on leadership roles in the school community. Since then, I didn’t quite know what the next step could be. Now I know. Through the Kenan Fellows program, I now have a larger view of the world of education. I have a network of role models and teacher leaders that I can turn to for support, ideas, and expertise. I have impacted 21st century learning in my district through my integrated unit. I’m so excited to see a side of education I didn’t even know was possible.
Although at times it feels like I’ve been doing the work of a Kenan Fellow for a long time, I’m really just at the beginning of this journey. I’m filled with excitement at the work that lies ahead – this year and beyond.