“When was the last time I reminded myself of what I should be grateful for?” Each and every one of us can easily come up with a list immediately on what we’re grateful for. There are moments, memories, experiences and relationships that can bring smiles to our faces. So every morning, take a moment to reflect on what you’ve been blessed with in your life.
Source: “Get a blender”: 10 habits to take your life into the stratosphere of greatness
When I look back over my career, I have many experiences that bring smiles to my face. May I share one in particular with you?
Note: You can read the short version of this by just jumping to the Big Announcement at the bottom of this post.
When I became a TENET Master Trainer in the 1990s, I remember the thrill as I signed up to present at my first-ever Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) State Conference (TCEA is a non-profit, 35-year old organization focused on serving educators and students in Texas and boasts 16K+ members!). It was magical to assist others in learning, but more importantly, connecting them to each other. The funny part was that I left the usernames and passwords for the session participants in my hotel room. As my wife jumped into a taxi, I saw her head flop back as the taxi accelerated away at top speed. “What did you tell that taxi driver?” I asked her later. She said, “I’ll give you an extra $20 if you get us there and back in 15 minutes!” We often look back on that experience with a smile, and TCEA made that successful opportunity to excel a reality for my wife, myself and the participants who became connected educators!
And, it’s been one packed room after another over the years (maybe not ALL of them were packed, ok?). That was the beginning of a life-long love affair with a Texas community of educators committed to sharing how they approached teaching, learning and leading with technology. How amazing is that?
Over the years, I’ve volunteered at TCEA as a conference presenter/speaker at regional and state events, Area 20 Board Member, and TECSIG Officer. I served on a TCEA State Conference Steering Committee with Barbara Brown (thanks, Barbara! You are great!), TCEA Leadership Retreats with Jackie S., and others. How wonderful that at TCEA 2016, I ran into both of them and had a chance to express my sincere appreciation for their support to a young educator.
And, at these TCEA events, I had the chance to facilitate–with awesome folks who taught me a lot–the Problem-based Learning Academy two years in a row at the TCEA State Conference. And, later, I was proudly awarded my Making IT Happen Award (with the signature jacket with hot-pink lettering) at a TCEA TECSIG Luncheon, and met many awesome folks. For me, TCEA is a volunteer organization–that is our strength as volunteers and members that celebrates our successes as Texas educators.
In the old days, the challenges we faced as members were different. We encountered roadblocks to tech implementation in schools because most people just didn’t get IT (some still don’t but thankfully, they are growing and learning). I encountered roadblocks to tech implementations and I began to ask myself, what could I become and do so that I could empower others…to free them from having to deal with, “Youtube is blocked! WiFi isn’t universal, we don’t have systematic approach to multi-year equipment replacement and I don’t have what I need, and more importantly, neither do our kids!”
My guiding question during those years was, “How can I create spaces where technology and learning can flourish?” My answer to that has been to try to eliminate boxes and wires hurdles, engage in strategic planning, address resource allocation issues, etc. And, I’d say I’ve been successful in building infrastructure solutions–through collaborative strategic planning, resource allocations–that enable those spaces to flourish. As one colleague put it, “I shaped that reality.” Thank goodness, none of this is done alone. There’s fun in that work and I enjoy juggling budgets more than I should.
This past year, though, I’ve felt the call…the fire of presenting and sharing began to warm my heart. I thirsted for that spirit-affirming work again… I found creative expression and realized my heart was asking a different question now that challenges and obstacles had changed over time. The question…Given universal access to technology now present in schools, what if I could just facilitate amazing, awesome learning experiences for others? This question really taps into who I am, and excited me tremendously.
While I have certainly enjoyed my stint as a Director of Technology, which has delighted me with strategic planning, multi-year equipment replacements, growing the WiFi network and bandwidth, eRate and budget planning, I wondered if maybe, just maybe, I was missing out on fun I’d enjoyed when younger. And, I followed that thought….
When I look back over my career as an educator, those experiences I am most grateful for are intertwined with my volunteer efforts with TCEA. Isn’t that an incredible realization? That’s why, when the opportunity arose to see if I could rekindle my flame in a new role WITH TCEA, I couldn’t say no. And, this brings me to my big announcement.
Today, I am proud to announce that I will join the terrific team at TCEA, each committed to serving a Texas-wide community of learners! I’ll be stepping down from my position as Director of Technology for a San Antonio area school district, and embracing Texas in a way I have only dreamed. My new position is as a Director of Professional Development for the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA); I start officially this March, 2016 after Spring Break.
Aside: Please allow me to extend my sincere thanks to the TCEA team I will be joining, as well as the TCEA Board of Directors! Oh, the places we’ll go!
Don’t be afraid to call TCEA and say hello, ok? My new email address there will be mguhlin at t c e a dot o r g