A Look Back and A Look Ahead

Thursday, January 15, 2009 | | 2 comments »

Over the past few weeks, I've read several "Year in Review" posts. These have come in a variety of formats that I've enjoyed. John Pearson (Mister Teacher) wrote about his 2008 month by month. Colette Cassinelli wrote a nice summary of her 2008 and a look ahead to 2009. Jeff Utecht shared his thoughts about 2008 as well. I also enjoyed how Kim Cofino shared her accomplishments from the past year. For my look back, I'm going to take some ideas from the outstanding people above and share my 2008.

For me, 2008 was a pretty exciting year. In addition to pretty good family time, a trip to Disney and NYC, baseball games at Miller Park, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium and a Packer game at Lambeau Field, a new puppy, etc., I really dove into the deep end with educational technology. I spent a lot of time on Twitter, building my PLN, and quite of bit of time attending professional conferences. I joined a few Nings, which I didn't visit nearly enough, and tried to blog more. In April, I attended WEMTA, which is Wisconsin's Educational Technology Conference. There, I got a chance to meet a few new friends face to face - John Pederson and Jen Wagner. Great educators who I'm hoping to see again at the conference this year. Over the summer, I was fortunate enough to attend NECC for the first time! San Antonio was a blast. Not only did I see my cousin, who I stayed with, but I met even more great teachers and learners during my visit to this conference. I met several DEN members who helped make the evening activities even more enjoyable. Several people (Laura D., Howard M., and Teryl M., among others) who collaborated with my students in a project in spring were there and I was able to thank them for participating. I met a ton of great people who I've learned from, too many to name. I can't begin to explain the impact NECC had on me. I've always loved using technology with students, but this conference opened my eyes to not only some amazing people, but amazing ideas for using technology with students. In the fall, I continued my learning by attending the Discovery Education Midwest Regional Conference in Illinois. Oh yeah, www.chadlehman.com was launched over the summer - I took the suggestions of Dean Shareski and Ewan McIntosh and claimed my online identity.

The year wasn't all roses, however, as our teacher contract negotiations took a pretty stressful toll on me. I was the Head Negotiator for our Union's last contract negotitaion and for the first time in a very long time, if ever, the Tentative Agreement we brought forward to members in late May, was voted down. Our team took a lot of heat from a few people, but we managed to go back to the table this past fall and come to a new agreement that the membership passed. I'm very glad that is behind me.

Once the school year started in fall, I wanted to share some of my learning with the staff at my school. I've held several after school learning sessions that teachers have attended. Once was on Discovery Education and the tools they have available. Another was on Personal Learning Networks, and the third was on another topic I can't think of at the moment. In addition, about 10 teachers stayed with me at school on a Friday night as we participated in the K12 Online Conference. I'm glad teachers are showing the interest in learning some of the tools that are available and how they can have an impact on learning. I feel fortunate that they are willing to spend out of school time with me, trying to expand their thinking. I also was awarded my first grant this year, which was used to purchase more technology for our school, and I have my fingers crossed after also applying for the Best Buy grant a few months ago.

What's in store for 2009? I don't have a crystal ball, or a Magic 8-Ball so I can't really predict what's going to happen, but I'm fairly certain of a few things. One thing that will happen is more learning. New tech tools and ideas will need to be examined and hopefully incorporated into my teaching. I'm hoping I can continue to share my learning with the staff at my school and get them more interested in the use of educational technology. I'm hoping to attend WEMTA and NECC again, but you never know what will happen. Perhaps there will be a professional change for me, but we'll see how that goes. I'm happy where I'm at, but sometimes new challenges are out there. I hope my family stays healthy and that my kids do well in school and on the sports fields. I know we're already a few weeks into 2009, but so far, so good (other than the extremely cold weather that's canceled school two days in a row).

Do you have anything else to share about your 2008? Comments on mine?


  1. Colette Cassinelli // January 26, 2009 at 10:52 PM  

    I will be attending NECC for the first time this year. We definitely need to meet!

  2. Tom.... // January 28, 2009 at 3:56 PM  

    Interesting site, Chad. I will earmark it for further viewing.
    I like your idea of a year in review. Always good to take a look back and hope to learn from that.
    I have written a novel about "the amazing adventures of a veteran middle school special ed. teacher." The first chapter is posted on my blog for review. I invite you and all your readers to take a look. Take care.

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