Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Liberating Genius: A Day with Angela Maiers

I spent yesterday at the e3Tech Conference at Warsaw High School.  In reality, due to the keynote and sessions that I chose to attend, I got to spend my day with Angela Maiers.  It was a great way to re-invigorate myself and get fired up for the coming school year, which I was really needing.  In a weird twist, after having a great year last year and being excited about our senior mentor program, freshman homeroom program, and STAT revisions that we have been working on this summer, I was very down about my job.

When I took the job at PHS the greatest disappointment was that they changed my title from Assistant Principal to Dean of Students.  It may not feel like a major change, but mentally this made me feel pigeon holed into being merely the discipline guy.  I believe that I did this job well, but I longed for more outside of the area of discipline and attendance.  This year, with the creation of our freshman homeroom program, senior mentor programs, and re-calibration of our STAT program, but in many ways I still feel that restriction as being "the discipline guy".  In fact, when most people hear what my job is they instantly say, "oh so your the guy that deals with all the bad kids", or something to that extent.  In my mind, I think they are picturing this guy:

Mrs. Maiers opened the day by asking me what my genius was as I was standing in the hallway waiting for her to get done talking to a friend of mine.  In my typical, "I suck" manner I told her that I really had none, for which I was gently scolded by her.  Great start to the day...

During her keynote presentation she asked everyone in the audience to be courageous and take a selfie, then tweet it out by stating what our genius was.  Being the lemming that I am at heart, I turned, and snapped a selfie:

As the day went on and into the night when I was at home, I though of more to add.  Thus, this is my genius (for the moment):

  • Sharing my passion for learning
  • Thinking creatively
  • Connecting with at risk students
  • Caring for others
  • Using technology

Hopefully this list will as I continue to grow as an educator.  Ideally, at the end of this year it will include an entry that says "Helping others to Liberate their Own Genius" so that I can do for the students I interact with what Angela Maiers did to me; make me see and believe that I am more than just the Dean of Students, help them to see that they too are geniuses and that they need to share their genius with the world.

Please comment below, so I can learn what your genius may be.

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