Let me give you some background. Small talk is something that is not among my
I am going to use s/he to describe the person so that their identity cannot be inferred.
S/he noticed I was opening a book entitled What Connected Educators Do Differently by @toddwhittaker, @jeff_zoul and @casas_jimmy. S/he asked me if I was an educator. I said a curt yes, hoping that would end what would, based on my experience, be a painful exchange of small talk. S/he said that they, too, were a teacher. S/he said they taught social studies in a suburban high school. I'm thinking to myself this is way too coincidental, since I, too, teach social studies at the high school level. I asked if they had a good break (s/he had a tan, so I inferred they were on vacation), and
They stated that going back to work was just about the last thing they wanted at this point. I took a deep breath and asked why that was, if they didn't mind me asking. S/he said "I've been teaching for 20 years and I've had it. I hate getting up in the morning, I love the kids, but hate my job".
I said, "I hear you". "I've been there".
S/he looked surprised that I said that. I looked young and how could I feel that already. I said, "I've been teaching for 19 years and two years ago, I was returning back from Spring Break and I was in the same place you currently are".
I knew I had her/him when I said that. They asked what changed for me. I simply said "I started learning again."
I then launched into how I was ready to give up the career I had chosen. I was having a particularly rough year and was wondering how on earth I was going to make it through the next three months, let alone the next 15 years. It just so happened that the next week I went to a conference (last minute decision, by the way) in Syracuse that featured @e_sheninger and his book Digital Leadership. At that conference, it was if the light bulb went off. He said so many things that resonated with me that I couldn't stop nodding in agreement and taking notes. He had QR codes for all of us to be able to use as takeaways so that I could reference everything later, and boy did I.
I sat and digested that material several times before I went to my principal with a few ideas about how I wanted to radically change the way I was doing things. I had heard about flipping a class, but didn't really know what that meant until I started to research it. I hadn't had the courage to step outside my comfort zone to learn the technology that would cause me to not only learn but teach to the students. I was 40..
As I reread his book for the 3rd time, I decided to take the leap and create a Twitter account. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do once I got on it, but knew that Eric had praised its ability to connect educators all over the world. I haven't looked back since.
I've participated in at least 4
I designed a Digital Citizenship course (#digcit) that requires me to stay technologically relevant and to lean on my PLN (Professional Learning Network) for assistance. Speaking of which, @mbfxc has been an amazing way to connect my #digcit course with her college #digcit students in so many ways. It has allowed us to be part of the Global Cyberbullying Prevention Campaign amongst other things.
I flipped my AP Gov class, and although there was a learning curve, I will never go back to traditional lecturing.
I have gone paperless in 3 of my 5 classes.
I've completed, and won, grants to get 2
Nothing that my students hand in, dies with me. I tweet out or post in my blog examples of student work from all of my classes.
Here are two examples:
Student created WWII History Museum Walk:
Using @padlet in US History
Did I mention I am blogging? Who would have thought I would cherish the time I can put into blogging!
I've attended #edcamps. On average 1 a month.
I've taken veteran teachers, administrators, board members and preservice teachers to #edcamps.
I've facilitated at 3 #edcamps and at ConnectED in March of this year.
I've co-moderated a Twitter Chat (#edtechbridge) and moderated #bfc530 several times.
I've submitted ideas for #BFC530 chats and moderated many times!
I've been devouring pedagogy and
I've collaborated with colleagues around the country on many of the classes I am teaching.
I've become the Tech Integrator for the HS.
I've been named Teacher of the Month for our district.
And the most important part..
I'm smiling at work again. I LOVE what I do again. It's not my job, it's who I am. My students often remark that I smile and laugh more than anyone they know and definitely more than any other teacher. When they ask how I can be happy so often, I simply say I started learning again.
Before I knew it, our 2 hours were up and we landed in Newark. I apologized to my seat mate for taking up two hours of their time. They responded by saying "When I grow up I want to be just like you. You've inspired me to find the person who was so eager to get into teaching in the first place. If you can do it, so can I."
When we got
After we hugged and parted ways, I just smiled. I used to be in seat 17D, but let me tell you, seat 17C is such a better place. Now I think about the 13 years that (in theory) I have left until I retire and wonder how am I ever going to get everything done that I want to get done!!