This summer I'll be completing my second year of technology training in a county based program called Pinnacle Technology Leaders. It is a program one must apply for, be accepted and complete several days of summer training as well as additional web and site based meetings throughout the school year. Later this summer I'll be teaching a course at our county's Teaching and Learning Conference about online research tools for teachers and students. Of course, like any other dedicated teacher, I'll have ideas running through my head on how to change activities around, how to incorporate technology and centers better, and how to find additional resources for my students.
When I look back on my teaching practice during my first few years of teaching, I cringe. I wish I could take those dear students into my arms and offer my sincere apologies. I was a newbie, I was overwhelmed, and I'm sure I didn't do much justice to my subject matter. I am constantly reflecting on what I've done, how I can change it, and where to go from there. As I sit in a workshop or conference, I'm contacting peers or former students to bounce ideas off of them about what I'm learning. When I was taught about using Twitter last summer as a professional development tool, a light bulb went off. I'm still a fledgling in the world of tweeting, but as I spend more time exploring the worlds of education and technology, I am figuring out how to be a contributor as well as a consumer of information.
As I connect to teachers outside of my county, state, and even my country, my craft improves. I think the moment I received my National Board certification was the moment I gained enough confidence to put myself out there. Given I had bounced from state to state for the first few years of my teaching career, I was a little unsure of myself. I would start to develop friendships and connections, only to move hundreds of miles away and start over. In the past year the number of connections I've made has blossomed. I have talked with educators from all over my county through a teacher leadership team working on Common Core curriculum guides, discussed technology integration with my peers in Pinnacle, discussed my AP class with someone from England with International Baccalaureate, and discussed college admissions requirements with the Dean of Admissions from M.I.T.
It has been a whirlwind year, but it has reinvigorated my passion for what I do in my classroom. Am I a perfect teacher? No, but am I constantly improving and reflecting and connecting? Yes!