"Sky High", 2005, Disney
I love this scene in Sky High--the teacher is struggling with his own identity, weakened by the perceptions of a society that views him as "less than" a hero. Here, he tries desperately to make his students, also faced with this same perception, to believe that hero support is just as heroic, if not MORE heroic than being a hero. But, it's in the above quote that we see he doesn't really believe that at all...
So, do I? Making the move to the district level, as an Ed Tech specialist, I've found myself facing what can only be described as an identity crisis. I struggle with no longer being on the front lines of teaching, the hero in the classroom facing the dangers of students, parents and administrative pressure--overcoming obstacles and emerging victorious with students who love me (and whom I love), with parents that support me and know I have the best interest of their students at heart, and with administrators who trust me and equip me to be this hero. I didn't realize how much joy and yes, pride, I had in being a part of this struggle that is called teaching. I loved being the hero--I loved changing lives, and I've struggled taking on my new role--hero support.
Which brings me back to my earlier question-- do I believe that I am as important now, in this role of hero support, than I was when I was the hero in the classroom? I think of all of the influence I had on the world when I was in the classroom, do I still have this now? Or, am I just expendable, a support mechanism only seen as a means to an end, rather than part of the end itself? Do I get to fight in the front lines, or do I take a back seat and let the real heroes do the job?
I think my answer lies in the word support. Google defines this word this way: "Bear all or part of the weight of; hold up"
Now this definition means something to me. If I were to view my job with the above definition--to recognize that I am to hold up the heroes--in times when they struggle as the world swiftly changes around them, when they meet a new foe and must re-think how they face danger, when they encounter an obstacle in which they have no experience, when they need a new superhero technique and skill-my job is to be there, with them, beside them, supporting them. I have a unique skill set as support; I've been a hero and know what it takes. My job now is to learn how to best equip and train teachers (my students) to become these heroes. I am in a position to support--and this realization has fortunately "rocked my world".
I've come to understand that this is the job of an Ed Tech specialist--we're hero support:) We have a unique influence on the heroes that we encounter every day. We must see ourselves as this vital part of our teachers' development as they become the heroes that in this day and age, we so desperately need them to be.
While I may struggle with no longer being a part of the life-saving and heroic act of teaching, I am proud to be hero support.