Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Consulting on Being a Consultant" and 3/1/11 Tech Tuesday Links

My mom has decided to retire.  I think.  She talks about it every year but this year seems more serious than in the past.  My mom has spent more than two decades as a classroom teacher and most recently school librarian.  This weekend she told me she’d be interested in consulting with schools and teachers in an effort to improve test scores, instruction and data collection.  I told her that it wasn’t a good idea.  Don’t get me wrong;  she’s very knowledgeable about these topics..  I asked her what she wanted to accomplish by becoming a consultant.  She replied, “I want to help kids.”  Then being a consultant is definitely not for her.  I explained to her that if she was looking for the most direct way to impact kids, being a consultant isn’t the way to do it.  As a consultant, you aren’t working with kids.  You are working with adults which some would argue is much more difficult.  You meet with adults, give them your ideas, and then cross your fingers that they go back to their classrooms and implement what you’ve worked with them on.  But even with follow up, there is no tangible way to determine that students are benefitting directly from your consulting.  I should know.  I’m in my first year of a job that is essentially a curriculum consultant to area schools.  And I love it.  I’ve been removed from the classroom much longer than my mom has so I think it is easier for me to understand that when I leave a teacher, it is up to them to directly impact the kids they teach.  Hopefully, I’ve imparted a small piece of wisdom that can help them do that but I don’t get hung up on whether it’s taking place or not.  I told my mom, “If you want to know you are having a direct impact on kids then volunteer, go back into the classroom, tutor.  Then you’ll walk away knowing you’ve touched a child’s life for the better.”