Happy 2nd Birthday, Techy Notes!
Wow, it has officially been two years since I started blogging and this website! What started out as a way for me to share some ideas has come such a long way since then. In the past 2 years, my life has completely changed and I attribute a lot of that to blogging. Blogging has given me a way to not only offer my voice, but share my story in ways that I never imagined when I first pressed PUBLISH.
Blogging has led to me writing for other publications like School Rubric, the Teach Better blog and Rachelle Dene Poth's blog. It led me to finding my #oneword for 2020 and 2021 and framing the successes for those years. That includes presenting virtually across the county in 2020 and 2021. Most amazingly, it has led to me writing my manuscript, TRANSFORM: Techy Notes to Make Learning Sticky , submit it to publishers, and now publishing it with Road to Awesome LLC. Don't underestimate the power of sharing your story and offering your voice- we all have something to share!
In her book, DivergentEDU, Mandy Froehlich talks about the qualities of a divergent educator. As I read this book, it struck me how blogging has contributed to my own journey as a divergent educator.
In the first chapter of this book, she described the six qualities that she and Elizabeth Bostwick developed as part of a collaborate blog post. So to celebrate this momentous occasion, I wanted to reflect on how blogging has contributed to my growth as a divergent educator.
- Deeply reflective
In her book, Mandy shares how "divergent teachers recognize that significant growth cannot happen without taking the time for deep reflection." (p.8) In the past two years, blogging has been my vehicle for that deep reflection. Blogging helps me work things out. No matter how a situation goes, blogging helps me process events. Sometimes, this would be a conversation with an administrator, like when I wrote about being a "troubleshooter" or when I survived a fail when I struggled to get on Instagram Live with Tim Cavey. But all of my posts share that journey of reflection. Those stories came together like pieces of a puzzle when I wrote my book. These posts have all helped me to grow and reach beyond my expectations.
In her book, Mandy also shares how "divergent teachers understand the importance of taking thoughtful risks." (p.8) In 2020, after the successes I experienced taking risks at ISTE19, I began my year of CHALLENGE. I wanted to challenge myself to take risks, with the understanding that as Jen Manly shared on a Teach Better podcast, "If you don't ask, the answer is always no." This also led to this year's one word, TRANSFORMATION.
My blog is a personal history book that shares these risks. As I compiled blog entries into my manuscript, I was struck by the sheer numbers of risks I have taken since starting blogging. Most notable- I took the risk to present at virtual conferences and loved it. I took the risk to write a book and my dream is now coming true.
Mandy shares that divergent teachers are tenacious. "They assume risk and are passionate about moving forward." (p.9) In 2020, I applied to become a Google Innovator for VIA2020. I knew it was a long shot, but tried anyways. When I found out that I hadn't made it, initially, I was upset- but then, as I reflected, I looked for the lessons learned through the process- how I could use that experience to propel me forward. Blogging has helped me do that time after time!
4. Voracious Learner
Mandy shares that divergent teachers are voracious learners. "Divergent teachers learn in multiple ways." (p.9) My blog shares my voracious learning journey. I love learning and blog posts document that. They share reflections from blog posts, podcasts, experiences with colleagues, books I've read and my #oneword check ins . During a recent talk with other tech coaches in my district, it struck me- I am a collector and curator of ideas. I take these ideas and then find ways to either make them my own or implement them in my practice. Blogging has provided me an excellent forum for this!
Mandy describes divergent educators as "having an appreciation for uplifting and adding value to others to elevate education." (p.10) She further explains how "mentorship brings an additional quality to collaboration that focuses on not only the give and take but also the guidance, support, and high expectations that a mentor can provide. Blogging has helped me to both provide and benefit from mentorship. I love sharing ideas with others, but the relationships that I have built from using this platform have transformed my life. In the words of our Teach Better Administrator Mastermind, the give and take with other like-minded wackos is magic.
George Couros defines innovation as " an idea, concept or product that is new, different and better." (p.11) All of us have our own personal journeys to discovering innovation. As Mandy described her experiences as a technology integration specialist, I found so many parallels in our stories. She shares a hierarchy of needs for innovation and divergent thinking. As a tech coach, this made me think about how I can promote lower levels in my school so that my colleagues are more receptive to innovation.
In my blogging journey, I love sharing ways that my colleagues have taken risks. This type of culture/climate has been extremely prevalent since COVID19 hit. I want to nurture this risk taking and empower the teachers I work with to try new things. I love that my blog can share that story and build on the collaboration our school has as a Professional Learning Community.
For those of you who have been reading my blog from the beginning, thank you. If you are new to Techy Notes, welcome! Take it from someone who has been there and share your story- I can guarantee that you won't regret it! In the words of Dr. Sam Fecich who encouraged me to press PUBLISH two years ago today,
" Get it out of draft mode and put it out there for the world. More people need to hear your story."