Wednesday, August 5, 2015

#beyouEDU - Finding Your Hustle with Kerry Gallagher

Educators come in many shapes, sizes, colors, roles, titles, and geographic locations. Over the course of one career we may even find ourselves shifting between these categories. In my case, I'm in the midst of a transition from classroom educator to instructional technology coach.

Yes, I'm incredibly excited about the possibilities.

Yes, I have fears.

Consider this:

Here are some examples:

Excitement: Enthusiasm is contagious

My teaching methods have gone from "don't smile until Thanksgiving" -- which is what I was told was a best practice when in my undergraduate education certificate program (ugh) -- to "student centered." I know the latter term is a buzz word at this point, but it perfectly describes the approach of consulting students when planning a unit, including student-discovered resources in our OER lists, and letting student imagination and creativity run a bit when creating project-based learning experiences. The results can be ground-breaking. When we allow students to unleash their enthusiasm, it will spread to their classmates and to us. We will build learning experiences previously impossible. Sound superlative? I challenge you to let your students design one unit this year. Then tell me I'm crazy. This is the enthusiasm I'm hoping to spread like a virus to the teachers I work with.

Fear: Do I have what it takes?

I've been a classroom educator for over a decade. I've hit my stride in that arena. I know how to connect with kids, research my content, create and execute engaging lessons, and provide both students and parents with high quality feedback on learning and progress. I'm confident at my skills in this area, but does that mean I will be the instructional technology coach that teachers like me deserve? The truth is that I'm not sure yet. It can be scary to have committed to such an important life choice as a career shift, especially when I'm unsure of whether I'll be as good at this new role as I was at my previous role. Rather than shrinking away from moments of insecurity, this fear motivates me to speak up and ask questions. I have at least as much to learn as I have to contribute, and I won't learn if I let fear keep me silent.

I'm sure more instances of excitement and fear will present themselves as this new adventure unfolds.  As the #beyouEDU movement grows I will surely share them. In the mean time, the message for all educators is to revel in both victory and defeat. Use the emotions that come from those experiences as motivation to find your hustle. Each of us has much to learn and much to share. If you are poised for both receiving and giving at any moment, you have found your hustle. Our students will be the beneficiaries. Isn't that the reason any of us are looking for our hustle in the first place?


  1. Kerry

    You will be perfect in your new role. You are a great listener, patient, driven, and always forward thinking......Will keep checking your posts.

  2. Thank you Shelley :) Your kind words mean a lot. It has already been a busy summer and I am looking forward to meeting more of the educators at my new school. It will be weird not preparing my own classroom, but I'm excited that I get to be in a lot of classrooms.