This is the latest in a series of blogs by partners of the Fluency work.
By Heidi Hohman
Connections are how I make sense of the world. I am an observer and an analyzer by nature. It is what I do to process new ideas and challenges. I find ways to link them to concepts, ideas, events and past experiences. It pleases me when I find connections between the familiar and the unfamiliar. It does not always happen, but when it does, life is good for me.
This summer I worked with many wonderful colleagues to prepare awareness and support sessions about the National Board Certification process through the West Virginia Department of Education. It was a bit overwhelming to plan a virtual conference, but we were thrilled that over one hundred participants joined us to learn about this worthwhile undertaking. The work these National Board candidates are pursuing is thoughtful and deep. They will ponder their relationships with their students, their students' families, their colleagues and their communities. They will question what they think they know about their students’ social and emotional levels and needs as well as their cognitive abilities and possibilities. They will analyze their knowledge of the subject matter they teach and they will contemplate how they teach and why they teach the way they do. They will make decisions for their students and then critically examine the results. Candidates will monitor students’ learning and use their observations to inform future learning and teaching. Many of them will come together with other educators and participate in cohorts to discuss their practices. They will listen. They will write and reflect. At times they will feel challenged, overwhelmed, excited, confused, overjoyed, and ultimately changed by the process.
The previous paragraph was about the work of the National Board, but I could have written it about The Data and Technology Fluency Project! The similarities are uncanny. Think about the work we have done through Fluency. All of us are thoughtfully contemplating our practices, we are listening to one another and learning by participating in our Fluency community, and we are making changes to open the world to our students. We are doing important work.
Making connections brings me comfort and helps me move forward especially now in today’s world. Perhaps my words will help you make a connection between the work of the National Board and the work you are already doing through Fluency. I am wishing and hoping you will find connections and inspiration throughout the school year to come.
Heidi Hohman is a graduate of West Liberty with a major in elementary education and a minor in general science. She earned a Masters in reading from WVU. She began a career as a fourth grade teacher at St. Mary Central in Martins Ferry, spent 14 years teaching science at Triadelphia Middle School, and has seen her career come full circle as she returned to teaching fourth grade at Steenrod Elementary. Heidi renewed her National Board certification in 2018. She is currently a member of Cohort 3 of The Data and Technology Fluency Project with West Liberty University and the CREATE Lab.