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Friday, December 18, 2015

The 20th Version of Me

When I interviewed for this job, I was asked if I planned to teach for 30 years or once, 30 times.  I responded that I planned to teach for 30 years, but had no idea what exactly that would entail.  It dawned on me yesterday that I am a totally different teacher than I was 20 years ago when I started.

I was recently at a PBL training session and one of the instructors said look at the first version of your PBL and then make the second version better.  That really stuck with me because I feel that the 20th version of myself is so much better than even the 17th version of myself.

We all change and adjust through the years, but I would say that the last three years have been the most transformative for me. The twentieth version of myself has seen the following things happen this school year:

1. I started sending home 5 positive emails every day.  This has not only caused me to make a conscious effort at seeking out positive things the students were doing, but also to reflect on a daily basis.  I hit 300 positive emails home this morning and I don't plan to stop anytime soon!

2. I have more student choice in my classroom than ever.  I am adjusting on a daily basis and sometimes by the class period to the needs of the students.  From day one of their time with me, I have told them their voice is important to me and I honor that vow.

3. I have personalized my class more than ever.  Yesterday, there were three paths the Economics students could take based on their level of understanding and achievement on our last summative assessment.

4. I am now meeting with students just about every free moment I have.  Not only does this pay off with an increased level of understanding on their part, but it also helps further the relationship that we have.

5. I am now the Tech Integrator for the high school and this is something I have been really looking forward to.  I love to share my love of meaningful edtech and have been doing weekly trainings with the staff who have chosen to engage and further their learning.

6. I am using so many formative assessments that I am able to pinpoint very accurately where students are lacking in knowledge.  One of my students recently said "when you gave me my remediation slip, it's like you were inside my head and knew exactly what I didn't know". I knew I was on the right track when I started this new process this year.

7. I have re-evaluated my flipped activities and have radically changed my belief of what should be in the flipped part.  The 17th version of myself (when I first started flipping) thought an 18 minute video was fine for seniors.  Now I won't go over 6 minutes.  The engagement has gone way up and the complaining is almost non-existent.

8. I start every day asking myself what the experience of what I am planning will be like from a student's perspective.  Before two years ago, it never occurred to me to think about it from their view.

9. I have students who now help me plan out lessons for my #digcit course.  Not only does that go along with the #8, it also gives me a better sense of what they need and what they will think is corny vs realistic.

10. I am able to walk away from a conversation with a colleague that would have ruined my day just a couple years ago and now look at it as a learning opportunity.  Their perspective of something reinforced for me that not everyone has the same perspective of what I considered very positive changes in our school.

I could keep going with about 20 more things, but you get the point.

The 20th version of me is by far the best version of me and I cannot wait for the future versions!

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