2023-24 President's Message
Charlie McLaughlin, DTE
Upon entering college, I entertained the idea of becoming a science teacher. The chance to follow a path to begin training for a teaching position in Technology and Engineering was precipitated by an informal conversation with a college science professor with whom I worked as a lab assistant. He had a unique style of teaching and enthusiasm unlike any other professor I had up to that point. I knew I wanted to be like him. His passion for teaching was always on display, especially during some of the first videotaped lectures used at the college. One day he required a prop, an aluminized hood with a face shield, for a video and sent me off to borrow one from the Industrial Arts department’s foundry. Once I arrived, I was invited to visit the foundry and the other labs in the department, and it was unlike anything I had seen before. When I returned with the aluminized hood, my professor and I talked about the program I had just seen. He was a good friend and colleague of several of the Industrial Arts professors and explained that an interest in science could be beneficial to anyone who wanted to take courses there. As my advisor, he registered me for a material processing class the following semester and I never left! A short trip to pick up an aluminized hood changed my life’s trajectory for the better.
Becoming a Technology and Engineering educator during the field’s many contemporary iterations (Industrial Arts, Industrial Technology, Technology Education, and Technology and Engineering Education) has led to a fulfilling career journey with more opportunities for professional engagement than I could have ever dreamed of. The same is true now for newcomers and veteran teachers alike; there are abundant professional development activities and leadership roles to seize upon in our organization.
Due to the pace of change we must strive to remain current in our practices and content offerings. The way to keep our edge is to participate in lifelong learning routines. Along those lines, ITEEA provides many occasions for members and others to update their teaching repertoire, gain important information from the many resources available, and interact with a host of colleagues during events like our Roundtables, Town Hall meetings, and at our annual conference. The quality and diversity of resources made available to ITEEA members is unsurpassed. In everything we do, we must offer opportunities to share ideas with one another. Please take advantage of these valuable offerings. It will make a difference in your professional growth.
Making a Difference: Regaining Momentum
ITEEA has proven its resilience in spite of the uncertainty of the last few years. Through that time, ITEEA provided outstanding professional development and support for its members and affiliates. Our membership rose to the occasion, too! Many of you posted lessons that could be taught at home; videos with demonstrations appeared on the website; resources were generously shared; the amount of communication inside and outside of Technology and Engineering was inspiring. Recapturing that kind of engagement and support won’t be difficult because it is built into the very nature of ITEEA membership. We are well on our way to having momentum restored! How shall we remain resilient and relevant in the future?
Read and understand our ITEEA mission statement – To advance technological and engineering capabilities for all people by nurturing professionalism, growth, and opportunity for those engaged in these pursuits. It requires action. This is a powerful statement that helps define our aspirations and who we are as an organization. With this goal comes the responsibility to be informed and become an advocate for the profession.
Review our “This We Believe” statement at www.iteea.org/This_We_Believe.aspx. “This We Believe” supports our mission statement. It grounds us in what we offer and why these goals matter. This statement allows us to demonstrate to the outside world that not only do we believe in these tenets, but we back them up with action.
Consider becoming more engaged in the profession – Organizational studies show that members who pursue professional development during their careers tend to have higher productivity and job satisfaction. Volunteering for an ITEEA Committee or Task Force assignment allows members to connect with a robust professional network, build confidence and self-esteem, and can assist with career decisions. If working in the national/international scene isn’t possible, members should become involved with their state organization to strengthen our networks. Members can stay informed because ITEEA maintains excellent communication with its state affiliates through the State Champions program.
Embrace the Technological and Engineering Literacy Standards – This historic revision was the product of an enormous effort by teams of dedicated ITEEA members representing K-12 through post-secondary education. The revision was also supported by industry representatives. The utilization of STEL will have a significant impact on the teaching and learning process. The standards will inform how and what we teach in our classrooms and labs. STEL highlights the essential role of technology and engineering in STEM. “Standards for Technological and Engineering Literacy is a foundation upon which educators can build curricular approaches and assessments, design learning environments, connect with the larger educational community, and prepare students for their future” (ITEEA, 2020 p. ix). Let’s make an effort to review STEL and begin a plan for implementation in our work.
Rebooting Standards for Technological and Engineering Literacy
Our recently updated Strategic Plan (https://tinyurl.com/ITEEASP) includes five achievable strategic goals. One of these important goals reads as follows:
STANDARDS: Establish and support adoption and implementation of state-of-the-art technology and engineering educational standards.
- Identify and remove barriers to implementing ITEEA standards.
- Provide the tools and resources to assist members to actively advocate for the adoption and implementation of ITEEA standards.
- Monitor progress regularly, review, and update ITEEA standards as needed.
- Advance equity through the use of ITEEA standards in the preparation and practices of educators.
There is much work ahead to continue the development of marketing and recruitment strategies that will increase membership and professionalism within our field. Critical to this initiative will be reengaging our Technology and Engineering professionals who were required to teach virtually rather than in the traditional setting during those extraordinary times. Our organization’s best ambassadors are our members; therefore, a coordinated effort must come from within to help them become familiar and able to utilize STEL in their own classrooms while becoming advocates for inclusion of our new standards. The tools to assist members in implementing STEL into their teaching can be found at: www.iteea.org/stel.aspx. There are free STEL-aligned lesson plan examples, a STEL Benchmarks Compendium by Grade Band, a STEL presentation, and STEL eTool to aid in lesson planning and curriculum development. Implementation of STEL as a cooperative teaching and learning activity is a perfect vehicle for us to realize this goal. The opportunities for professional development are endless, so we must promote this important document to a worldwide audience. The adoption and implementation of STEL is a powerful means for expressing accountability and justification for our diverse curricula choices.
I bring a diverse set of leadership experiences and skills to this office, having served as President of CTETE, chaired committees for ITEEA and CTETE, and served as CTETE Director on the ITEEA Board of Directors. I am part of a team that endeavors to have a positive impact on the membership of ITEEA and other communities of teachers. We will work tirelessly to advance the mission of ITEEA and to ensure that our membership has every opportunity to support the success of its students.
I am mindful of the obligations of the ITEEA President and will apply concepts of servant leadership while I hold this office. The Greenleaf Center (www.greenleaf.org/what-is-servant-leadership/) describes this form of leadership as:
While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first, and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
My hope is this form of leadership will encourage more engagement between ITEEA’s leadership and its membership. We must develop stronger, more open feedback so that ITEEA members can communicate their thoughts and concerns to us.
I am grateful for your confidence in me, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with the membership of this great organization. Let’s keep the momentum going for ITEEA.
Greenfield Foundation for Servant Leadership (n.d.) What is servant leadership? Seton Hall University. www.greenleaf.org/what-is-servant-leadership/
International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. (2020). Standards for technological and engineering literacy: The role of technology and engineering in STEM education. Reston, VA. www.iteea.org/STEL.aspx.