Changing Landscapes: Instructional Design

This post was written April 2015…

Today, eight weeks away from my very last day as a public education teacher, I am hopeful. The last 12 years of my life have been lived investing in middle school students. I have helped kids that can’t read write essays. I have helped kids remove harmful labels they’ve placed on themselves. Most importantly, I’ve seen students accomplish things they never thought possible before entering my class. My career has been challenging, fulfilling and transforming. However, I believe it’s time for me to make a significant, professional change.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting old and I can’t relate with middle school students in the same way. I have a deeper desire now to work with adults. Maybe its because I have skills that aren’t being used as a teacher. Most importantly, it’s because I’ve found a career that seems exceedingly interesting. It appeals to me because it seems to fit me: Instructional Design.

This is not a complete change from my years as a public educator. I will still use my skills of taking large ideas and concepts and breaking them down into smaller pieces that will change the landscape of the human brain (otherwise known as teaching). I will still determine the outcome for a set of objectives and decide what is and what is not important in reaching that outcome. However, I will also be using my natural eye for design that is probably what motivates me most in life. I recently listened to a podcast on how to find a job as an instructional designer. It described this necessary design sense as being innate. I thought, “How exciting! That’s me!”

Furthermore, instructional design is a behind-the-scenes job. I read a blog post today about this idea. Not many people like being called behind-the-scenes, but I do. I love solving problems, talking to experts, managing details and my time to create something that will help others learn. I love watching the process unfold. The learners are on stage, I’m there to support them in their professional endeavors. Being behind-the-scenes means being indispensable. That is what I hope to be for my next employer.

I have enrolled in an instructional design certificate program through UW-Stout. Through this program I hope to learn more of the skills I will need to be an excellent instructional designer. As I do, I hope to post what I am learning and what I read on this blog. I also hope to connect with people with similar passions and goals.

This is the end of an amazing twelve years, but the beginning of a new adventure.

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