I hope that as a result of the Challenge we can begin to develop a repository of writing from our faculty. I hope that over the years it is one place a faculty member may go to get some insight into teaching here at Yavapai College and teaching in general. We don’t currently have a place where a teacher can go to read what colleagues here at YC are doing in classrooms or challenges they are grappling with. The summer/winter institute wiki is the closest thing to that we have and it is a great resource too. But I hope, after a few years of running the challenge we can develop a rich space for learning on the Webletter. That is one thing I imagine the challenge might do.
I see the act of writing as a way to fine tune ideas and as a way to revisit them later to further ponder what is thought. As a former English teacher I think that writing things down is a good way to get the ideas out of our heads and onto a physical space where it can be re-examined and reshaped. Once out it can be shared differently too. Conversations are a great way to hash out ideas, but when they are written they take on different qualities than can be leveraged. With the challenge we can connect teachers together who may otherwise not have conversations.
I hope that some of the ideas shared in the Challenge at some point leap from the offices of the teachers and out into hallways and into committee discussions. That in some way there are some ideas expressed in these postings that look differently at a problem or solutions and that they are carried into the world as alternatives or newly discovered ideas. Who knows, maybe the president will see one of the writings here and bring it to a place that the author would be unable or unwilling to do. I suppose that could be a good thing or a bad thing.
One thing I hope happens here is that we get some more viewers of the Webletter. It is a great resource and while it does get a good number of views, I know that many Yavapai College teachers do not know about it or do not visit it often. I would also love to see some conversations developing on some of the posts. That has been a hard thing to get teachers to do. Also, I hope that maybe as a result of this I can get some of the faculty to contribute articles more often. Most of the posts are from the TeLS group and we know how much more powerful it is to have a faculty express ideas.
But one of my greatest hopes is that maybe this idea will be one direction we can use in the development of our faculty. What might our yearly performance reviews look like if the “reviewers” could look back at a years’ worth of reflections on teaching and learning? Writings about conferences attended or about new tools or strategies employed in the classrooms? Reflections on the landscape of education on the whole, or musings on state, federal or local policy in education. How might those inform the reviewers and show learning and “development” over the year?
I guess I hope that it will be expected that teachers write about their profession and share that writing. And look, that is what we are doing right here in the 9x9x25 Challenge.