To A Mentor

Dear Dr. McGee,

Saturday is World Teacher’s Day, and our students across campus are expressing their gratitude and appreciation for their teachers this Friday.  You don’t know me, but because you have taught me so many things this past year, I want to take the time to thank you.

A little over a year ago, my head of school decided to create a curriculum coordinator position for our private international school in Hong Kong.  To my delight, I was appointed  this role which gave me substantial freedom in decision making.

Nevertheless the lack of guidance  had another effect.    I had reservations in my ability to manage the curriculum from early childhood to grade 12 for all subject areas.  For starters, I knew very little about what curriculum coordinators do.  Because they worked behind the scenes, I never saw their actual work.  And my quick Google search for curriculum coordinator’s role left me more confused; different schools varied in their interpretations for what this person does.

Then I discovered your curriculum coordinator blog, and a whole world was opened before me.  By keeping a transparent record of your work online, I was able to shadow you.  I learned from you how to manage my day, so that tasks would get accomplished.  I too started my own blog and have referred to it many times.

You taught me how your district was dealing with  Common Core and Next Generation Science.  More importantly, you showed me how to support the teachers with the change.  The resources you provided  helped me craft what is needed in our context.

You taught me to always connect with the students by visiting classrooms in your many schools–to this day, I still run an extracurricular STEM club with the G4s and G5s.  I make myself available when teachers need an extra hand when we have special school events.  And I celebrate their successes.

You’ve introduced me to terms I’ve never heard of–unconference,  EdCamp and this has exposed me to new ideas and ways to connect with people.  As for technology, I attribute my new found skills through your professional development videos  with your teachers.  Now I understand and appreciate the value of teacher development and training.  You have modeled yourself as a life-long  continuous learner  so that you can best support your teachers.   I too have set aside time to grow and reflect through the wealth of materials available online.  Finally you have inspired me to pursue graduate studies.  This fall I began my first course in my Ed D, Curriculum and Instruction program.

Today our school has made wonderful progress.  We’ve had our most successful AP scores yet in 2013.  Our elementary students have scored above national average on ITBS scores.  I recently ran professional development sessions on building a PLN.   We’ve connected with two other schools in the States through the medium of a virtual book club using Google Hangout.  Many of our teachers are offering after-school support to their colleagues with tech tools like Moodle, Turn it In, and interactive whiteboards.  Occasionally my head has commented on a nice job.   I want to extend some of that to you, sir.

So in closing, even though we are physically distant, the Internet has helped make you my “virtual mentor”.  Thank you very much, teacher.

Happy World Teacher ‘s Day,

Marlon Ng

Curriculum Coordinator,  American Int School, Hong Kong

PS.  You can follow Dr. Chris McGee @cmcgee200  or Blog

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