A Week in the Life

photo credit to MaryBeth Hertz

photo credit to MaryBeth Hertz

Many people that I meet ask me (what used to be) innocuous small talk questions like, where do you live and what do you do? For most of my life I have had incredibly direct and simple answers, Teacher from WI/KS/AZ/PA. Now I find myself using the phrase, I don’t maintain a home and I am an educational consultant. Both of those phrases beg even more questions, that I gladly answer and love the opportunity to talk about the work I do, but it occurred to me that perhaps it would be worth a little plane time to type of a week from my schedule.

Monday: Turn in rental car (Mustang, what a car) in Flagstaff, AZ. Fly to Milwaukee by way of a connecting flight in Phoenix. Spend most of the flight getting remotely caught up on the feedback for the grad class I teach with the University of Minnesota. Pick up the rental car (Chevy Cruze) in Milwaukee, head out to the CESA#1 Convening where I would keynote on Tuesday morning. Work on getting my slide deck, links and materials ready for the keynote and two followup sessions.

Tuesday: Lead the conference attendees through my Building Systems and Structures for Modern Learning keynote at a conference concerned with Navigating the Path to Personalized Learning. Lead a follow up conversation with a smaller room of attendees on the ideas presented in the keynote. Conduct so many side conversations with so many excited and energized teachers as I made my way between the different conference spaces. Visit with Tammy Lind for a few minutes. Lead a conversation on Embracing Failure with a breakout session to close the conference. Head back to the MKE airport, turn in 2nd rental car of the week. Score a massive win by getting out of my delayed connecting flight and onto a direct flight to Philadelphia. Take the train to 30th St. Station in Center City Philadelphia to pick up the 3rd rental car (Chevy Sonic) of the week. Crash at Caitlin Thompson‘s house (one of the most gracious hosts for my stays in Philadelphia).

Wednesday: Stop by SLA to get some blank checks from the Inquiry Schools accountant. Drive to SLA@Beeber and have a meeting with Chris Lehmann and Chris Johnson. Chat with SLA@Beeber’s founding English teacher,Luke Zeller, about the path of professional development in the building for the next few weeks. Clean up the Canvas and SLATE databases. Remind all the teachers that we are going shopping for the new Maker Space with our afternoon Prof Dev time (we were awarded a generous grant from the StateFarm Youth Advisory Board). Head to Lowe’s to meet up with Alex Gilliam and the Public Workshop crew and do a staff/student tool shopping scavenger hunt. Chris Johnson, Chris Pilla and I talk with the powers that be at Lowe’s about our project and ways to effectively partner. Watch the glowing faces of teachers and students as they run around to locate all kinds of new and awesome tools for the school. Run the credit card on nearly $4000 worth of materials. Head to SLA in Center City to lead a meeting with some SLA teachers about potential summer work with Inquiry Schools. Meet with the Inquiry Schools accountant and Chris Lehmann to discuss finances and future projects.

Thursday: Pack bags back into rental car. Head up to SLA@Beeber to work with Chris Johnson on some administrivia related to the grant projects. Roster a new student into their classes and walk her around to meet everyone. Work with Ann Leaness to clean up the rostering data. Brainstorm with Chris Alfano on how to streamline some of the database systems that we use. Talk up the teachers on how the year is going. Turn in the rental car. Meet Marcie Hull for a glass of wine at 30 St. Station before my train. Board the Amtrak to Union Station in Washington, DC. Work all the way down to DC on my workshop materials for Friday. Take the Metro to Zac Chase‘s neighborhood to have dinner.

Friday: Borrow Zac’s car (Ford Escape) to get over to St. Pat’s Episcopal Day School in DC. Spend the entire morning working with an incredibly motivated and thoughtful group of educators. Return Zac’s car and walk his sweet little pup, Daisy. Grab the Metro to meet up with Sam Chaltain for a late lunch. Spend the entire afternoon talking shop with Sam before heading to the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for Talks @ Pulitzer: Not Your Mama’s Drama–A Philadelphia Story where I was able to catch up with Nathalie Applewhite and Mark Schulte about their work. Dinner with Zac and a colleague…

Saturday: Up early to cram all my stuff back in the suitcase, walk to the Metro check in at Reagan National. Head to San Diego by way of Phoenix.

In a few hours I will pick up the 5th different car (hoping for another Mustang) for the week and check into a beach house that I have rented for the next 6 days as I catch up on sleep, work and get ready to return for a third year to work with the lovely Adina Sullivan and the San Marcos School District.

This is a week – working directly with teachers, admin, thinkers, students, community partners – lots of email, digital collaboration, in person meetings, large keynotes, small sessions, balancing budgets, booking travel, strategic planning – I am not bored. As in my last post I will once again state, I love the variety and flexibility that my work affords. I am incredibly fortunate to have all these incredible opportunities, but thought it might be worth some time trying to actually plunk out a post that provides a little window into what I am up to.

Where do I live – everywhere.  What do I do – so many things. 

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