By Jennifer Williams
Inspired by #OneSong, my #PLN, and the song Renegades by the incredible X Ambassadors.
I have always had an interesting relationship with rules. As a child, I often sought out rule-based systems, however would quickly find myself working to escape them, or perhaps more accurately put, go beyond them. As a teacher, I found myself compelled to follow each set rule precisely; loyal to a cause, always aiming to do “right” and stay the “course.” The rulebooks within my life offered sanctuary and direction, standards by which I could measure success. They also stirred alive within me a desire to find the unforeseen “loophole.” Alternative paths that led to the unknown. Boundless and bound living together playfully.
Boundless, yet bound.
This past year, equipped with passion and experience, I set out to make a new path. Not one that was traveled more or less, but one that had never been traveled. When faced with any decision, I decided I would trust in my instinct with a conviction that I had not before had. One good step would lead to another, and that next good step would lead to one ahead. For me, the concept of #goodbringsgood would be a guiding message to develop a path of positive growth and direction.
As a connected educator, this year brought the most extraordinary friendships and experiences. Good brings good became a journey and a destination. I learned that working for the future and living in the moment for me can and should co-exist. As the year concluded, reflecting on the months and days and those moments, I realized that with all the steps I had taken over the year, I was only just at the trailhead on the course on which I was set to travel.
So, here I am. My shoes laced up. My gear packed. Ready. But, where does this path lead? As an educator, I believe in education with every part of me. I am honored to be surrounded by a network of inspiring thought leaders that are pushing the boundaries in our profession and making measurable gains towards progress, innovation, and change. Together, I see a charged force that is ignited and readied for the journey. More and more, I see leaders stepping out. Determined and resolute. Admirably purposeful. Eager to make a difference. Looking to a set of rules in a system and continuing to strive for more. A coalition of educators all ready and willing to make it their life’s work to not only get it “right,” but ready to make it “right.”
For so long, the term “renegade” brought for me thoughts of a mutineer or a rebel ready to break rules and fight against them. Me, a person afraid of breaking rules. Could it be conceivable and also acceptable to question the very system that created and in turn was enforcing the rules? Perhaps, with a shift in perspective. What if together as educators we could break ground on a new design for education inspired by hope? Confident, courageous, unwavering. Ready to stand together to change the narrative of a renegade from an outlaw to a valiant pioneer forging a new path. This year I am ready. Ready to stay true to my rule of #goodbringsgood. Ready to take steps one at a time and bravely look at established systems through a fresh lens. Ready to boldly create a new path based on a map with an entirely new set of rules that encourage the bound to be boundless.
Go forth and have no fear.
It’s our time to make a move.