Inspired by @SonsofTechEdu-My Origin Story: May 29, 2019
As my husband and I drove back to Virginia after visiting his family in Long Island, New York, I put on one of regular Monday podcasts, @SonsofTechEdu. The hosts and their guests were sharing their educational heroes and origin stories. As each one of them shared their stories, I found myself nodding along in agreement, laughing at times, but most of all, feeling a camaraderie with people I had never met before.
Why did I feel this way?
As they shared their stories, I heard echoes of my story, my heroes. I understand where they were coming from, because I had been there. Sure, the specific details were different, but the underlying themes were not. All of us wanted something better for our students.
What did we want for our students? We wanted MORE. Right now, I am reading Culturize by @JimmyCasas and the call for not allowing average to become our standard is a frequent theme in his book.
How can we inspire a culture that helps students get beyond the average?
What tools and pedagogy can we, as educators, use to promote higher levels of engagement and learning?
For the guests and hosts of this podcast, they all found that technology opened doors they never expected. It allowed them to get past challenges and setbacks and emerge with new powers.
As Superman said, "There is a Superhero in all of us. We just need the courage to put on the cape." All of us can be superheroes. Here is my origin story of how I survived setbacks and emerged with my cape- my super powers.
I remember as young as eight years old, I wanted to be a teacher. I even made my sister and her friends play school with me and my Raggedy Anne chalkboard. As I got older, this dream was pretty consistent- I worked at a day care center after school, did an internship at my local elementary school in high school, and went to college for elementary education at University of Maryland.
My first year teaching was HARD! Looking back, I am not sure I was fully prepared to start teaching and the school I worked at provided very little, if any support. I seriously thought about leaving teaching-my dream, but instead decided to substitute and refine my teaching craft.
With renewed faith, the next year, I started working in Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland. It was there that I first discovered the magic of using technology. When I discovered Scholastic's online projects, I was fascinated. I loved how engaged my students became as they participated in moderated chats and technology infused projects. Seeing the magic, I decided to get my Masters in Technology for Educators.
After getting my Masters in Technology, I worked for a few years as a Technology Teacher. I loved this position and wish it could have lasted longer. We used a coteaching model and I worked with all students and teachers K-5. But with non-classroom positions comes risk. As I went through a divorce, I needed a more steady job and I returned to the classroom.
A couple of years later after getting remarried, I moved to Virginia . Then, after 3 years commuting back and forth, I took a job in Virginia. After being in a system for 17+ years, it was a big change. In addition, I had taught in a large system for such a long time and the small system I ended up working in was not a good fit for me. For the second time in my teaching career, I doubted my dream- once again, I thought about leaving teaching. Lucky for me, my husband would not let me give up my dream and the following year, I started working in Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia.
When I joined the FCPS family, I first heard of Twitter and joined it since my school was promoting it. Working in a connected school in FCPS changed everything. As I shared in my February 9, 2019 post, joining Twitter was a game changer. It enabled me to have a #PLN to learn and grow from. As a result, I found myself taking more risks- I applied to be a School Based Technology Specialist and made the pool. That led me to my current job as a technology specialist.
This past year has been the best year of my career so far. I am working my dream job- working with students and teachers to use technology to enhance instruction and provide new opportunities. I wake up every day excited to share my"superpowers" at school. Like so many others, I believe after surviving challenges and setbacks, I have finally discovered my superpower!
But being a superhero is not a stagnant process- it requires constant growth and refinement. That's what I love so much about my job- I am constantly learning. Whether listening to an amazing podcast, reading a thought-provoking book or getting certified as a Google Certified Trainer, I learn something new every day that makes me a better educator.
Being a superhero requires a growth mindset- what powers will you add to your bag of tricks today? How will you make your classroom better for your students? Your staff? How can you empower your school to go beyond average and be great? How can you adding your story to the educational narrative make all of us stronger and better?