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When I joined Santa Ana Unified’s new 21st Century Learning department in the spring of 2015 as Coordinator, I wrote a mission statement because I wanted to frame for myself and share with others what the department stood for. 21st Century Learning probably sounds nebulous to most people and while there are documents and frameworks out there, none of them resonated with me in a way that would inspire my work daily. So I wrote my own mission statement. If you haven’t taken this step, I encourage you to write out both a personal mission (why do you exist on this earth?) and a professional mission statement (why do you come to work every day?). Commit some time to reflection and pen something you can stand behind, and when the chips are down, something you can stand on. I think the statement below is still fresh for me, as relevant today as it was two short years ago. The mission statement read as follows:
“21st Century Learning supports students in acquiring mastery of state standards, developing habits of success in managing emotions, attitudes, and relationships to address local and global challenges through meaningful learning experiences and environments. Our department supports teacher, site, and district initiatives related to hybrid learning, competency-based learning, self-paced and self-guided learning.”
I still quite like the mission.
Question: How do you like your mission today compared to two years ago? Compared to five years ago? Ten years ago?
Question: What has inspired you lately to rethink or revisit your sense of mission?
Question: Who do you turn to reframe, refocus, or re-fire-up the definition of your mission?
I believe that as we grow and develop and our circumstances change and evolve our personal and professional missions will change, and our response should not stay the same or stay stagnant. If our situation changes, the way we see the world may change, and we may need take steps to sharpen our focus on what we really want to achieve or bring into the world.
I encourage you to think through the following questions, whether you are in the classroom or out, whether you lead a small department or are in charge of a large district:
How do you like your work today?
What has inspired you lately?
Who do you turn to for direction?
And now, consider this: how are you learning and who is supporting your learning to achieve that mission? If our system is moving toward personalized learning and competency-based learning, shouldn’t we, as lead learners, define for ourselves how we are learning? And shouldn’t we identify the personal learning network necessary for us to achieve our mission?
Share your thoughts in the comments.