Inspiring Educators- 1/6/2021

This past weekend as I was preparing for the return to school, I took some time to listen to George Couros' podcast, The Innovator's Mindset Podcast. I love this podcast because it always inspires me.

As I listened to this first episode of his second season, he shared three questions that he will ask each of his guests this season. As always, I pondered my answers during this episode as well.

  1. Who is a teacher that has inspired you?

  2. Tell about one administrator who impacted you?

  3. What advice would you give your first-year teacher self?

An Inspiring Teacher (or Two)

When I think about a teacher that inspired me, two teachers come to mind: my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Hill and my high school French teacher, Mme. Gable.

When I found out that I was having Mr. Hill for fourth grade, I cried. He had been my second grade gym teacher and I was a really poor athlete. He had a loud, boisterous voice and I was honestly scared of him. But as the year went on, I quickly realized that he was one of the best elementary school teachers I had. He pushed me to give that extra effort and as a result, I made so much progress that year.

Mme. Gable was my AP French teacher. In high school, I was extremely shy and very hesitant to speak in class. At the end of one class, she pulled me aside and encouraged me to participate more. When I expressed my fear, she helped me and set up opportunities for me to practice. She was an amazing teacher who not only believed in me, but empowered me.

An Impactful Administrator

Jen Hertzberg was unlike any principal I have ever had. She was progressive and had so many ideas. It was from her that I first heard of using Twitter. and joined it since my school was promoting it. She was a connected learner who embraced a learner mindset. She was always learning and pushed her staff to do the same. I learned so much that first year. She introduced Project Zero’s thinking routines to our staff. We dug deep into Project Based Learning. We learned so much about how a team could use the Collaborative Learning Teams to plan for instruction.

When she heard about my interest in becoming a School Based Technology Specialist, she was so supportive and helped me immeasurably along the way. I am so grateful for her impact in my life. It created ripple effects that transformed my world.

Advice for First Year Me

My first year of teaching was HARD, probably the hardest thing that I have ever gone through. I was a young, idealistic 22 year old teacher who wanted to save the world. I was faced with an extremely difficult classroom situation and an administration that was not supportive at all. But I was persistent and believed that I could fix it.

If I could tell my first year me anything it would be that I didn't deserve the treatment I received that year. I blamed myself for the year, but so many other factors were in play. I took everything so personally in this toxic environment, endangering my own health. No job was or is worth that.

Thanks George for sharing your reflections and inspiring mine. It was the perfect refresh for me as I thought about the return to school.

  • Be motivating like Mr. Hill.

  • Be empowering like Mme. Gable.

  • Be a connected learner like Jen Hertzberg.

  • Be grateful for my amazing school and colleagues- the blessings in my life.

This year, my #oneword2021 is transformation. I want to be the best ME I can be. So far, this has been going very well. This will be a challenging year, no doubt about that, but pushing towards transformation will get me through.