Monday, March 26, 2018

#IMMOOC4 Week 5: Moving Forward, Keeping the Past in Mind

Empower #EmpowerBook
Suggested Reading: Chapter 10-12 
What changes can I make in my own practice to move forward?

Teaching is a profession that requires improvement, regeneration, and reflection. I don't see a good teacher becoming great unless these elements are present. I'll be honest, there was a point in my career that I wanted out. Teaching felt stale ... boring ... prescribed ... everything lived and died by the state tests. 

I needed a change. 

I wanted a change. And change arrived in the shape of a grant allowing us to go 1:1 with Chromebooks in grades 5-12. I won't lie - there were ups and downs. Nothing was perfect. Nothing is perfect. BUT ... I FINALLY felt that I had come into my own with these devices. They allowed every single one of my students to begin to craft their own educational adventures. I was able to curate, collect, share, differentiate, and empower each student in a manner that was meaningful to them. The first major "Aha!" ➤ Any student who needed to - or wanted to - could listen to their text. The days of forgetting (or losing work) was gone. Students could watch supporting videos to help them understand content. We could research using recent work. Students taught me how things worked. We explored. We could design.

I built off what I already knew and had collected. I collaborated with other teachers. I was asked to present at a local gathering of fellow educators as well as in my own district. The fear nearly stopped me. But I'm so glad I didn't. When the opportunity arose, I accepted a split role of Tech Integration for the first half of the day, while remaining in the classroom in the afternoon. 

I fell in love.

I share all this because sometimes changes happen TO you and sometimes changes happen because you MAKE them or INVITE them to happen. I have made 2 significant changes in my career ... one when I moved from 5th grade to 7th & 8th. And the other was moving into the Tech Integration role full time. With both changes, the past came right along with me. Fear accompanied both. Neither move was entirely smooth. Each year has helped me develop into who I am today. 

As I move forward, each day presents me with new challenges & old fears; new people & old friends; new technology & old hesitations; new programs & old thought processes. Each "new" has a history ... sometimes it's a good thing, but more often than not, the new comes with hesitation and reservation. As I move forward, I hold hands, I stand waist-deep in the struggle, I high-five successes, I engage with new thought processes, I hit brick walls of past hurts or cynicism, I have conversations with old friends and new colleagues. I connect. I create. I smile and laugh. I push myself.

I keep moving.

Each and every day, I actively seek out ways to make myself valuable to my colleagues. I engage in conversations with teachers who want to try (some more hesitantly than others) something new or they've seen someone else do. I keep in mind various skill levels ... but I ALWAYS push. I ALWAYS offer MORE. I was fortunate enough to have people in my past that did this to me and I want to be that person for others.

Recently I've been keeping an eye on the world outside my district. My husband encouraged me for a long time to start a blog. I tried to make it perfect. [Then I read Innovator's Mindset where George Couros wrote, "If you don't believe in your own idea, why would anyone else?" ... this really hit home!] I jumped in. Not every blog is a whopping success ... but some are. I've received positive comments and good feedback. I've found a way I can share.

I WILL keep moving.

Each day presents me with the opportunity to reach out, or sit back. I can't let fear stop me. I won't let fear stop me. I know I won't always be successful, but I won't fail. I will keep the past in mind because it has made me ME. There is a lot of good in the past ... I won't let go of it; instead I will stand on it to make the future better. Better for the learners I encounter. Better for me.

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