I'm particularly interested in the topic of motivation in terms of the conditions that need to be present to get people to take action. In this instance, when I became an instructional technologist, I had much greater autonomy and time to learn based on what I thought was interesting and also beneficial for other teachers to understand when effectively integrating technology into the classroom.
In my mind, my skills grew exponentially over the course of just one year because I had the time needed to network with thought leaders, reflect on my own practices and experiment in a low risk environment. As a result, I felt re-energized, enthusiastic and extremely confident in what I learned.
The downside was that I was given very little time to share any of this with teachers and often got push back from teachers who would say things like, "Yeah, but you're not in the classroom anymore. You don't teach these kids and those ideas are cool, but they won't work for me."
I like to imagine what would have happened had gone back into the classroom after that one year and had the chance to apply what I learned. There's no telling what the results would have been, but I'm always the optimist and think the findings would be pretty stellar.
I want replicate that experience by rewarding an exemplar teacher and giving them a one year "working sabbatical" if you will, where the teacher gets to learn purely based on what motivates them and the autonomy and time to do so. As mentioned above, in return they will share what they've learned within the district through blogging and professional development. After 12 months, they return to the classroom a... new teacher full of enthusiasm, new ideas and creative confidence.
I also picture that over time, the teachers who are selected to participate in this program form an advisory board or think tank of sorts responsible for being a resource to new entrants to the program. They would also collaborate with other think tanks in the region, do R&D and well... I could go on and on and hope you see where I'm going with this.
I think one of the crucial aspects of this program is that teachers get selected based on a track record of pedagogical excellence and this program is a reward for their hard work. Therefore, setting the bar in a school for teachers to strive for pedagogical excellence if they desire one year away from the classroom full of autonomy, mastery and purpose.
I have a lot of ideas in my head about this and hope to leverage the collective intelligence of this group to find a way to make this work.