This morning, as I was scanning my Twitter feed following breakfast, a blog post by Katherine Sokolowski caught my eye.
My first thought was this photo:
This was taken when I gave my first Ignite presentation at the ISTE 2014 conference in Atlanta, GA. That conference COMPLETELY changed my journey as an educator and technologist. I learned how to use Twitter for my own professional development and connected with hundreds of amazing educators including superintendents, principals, district leaders, and teachers. I ventured into new experiences, like screen casting instructional videos for websites, and honed my writing skills by publishing articles for ISTE’s EdTekHub and providing peer reviews for Corwin Press. This photo represents my growth mindset, my willingness to learn new things, and my joy in learning and leading with others.
Another photo that caught my eye was this one:
These three ribbons on my VSTE conference nametag also represent key characteristics in my role as a technology integrator:
1. YOLO: You only live once, so take chances. Try something new. You might be surprised what you learn in the process.
2. Play Well With Others: Be kind to everyone. Always. Recognize that we all have experiences and insights to share no matter how tech saavy we profess to be.
3. Hacking is NOT a Crime: Allow yourself to be open to new ways of thinking. Don’t get stuck in a rut of old assumptions. Who knew “hacking” could be so much fun?
A third photo tugged at my heart so I had to include it as well:
This is my life mission, only discovered after I turned 40. I believe there is good in this world, a modern day Pollyanna some might say. Doing random acts of kindness is a small way to put more good back into this world while inspiring others to do the same.
Which leads me to my final photo, which is actually more meaningful than all the other photos combined:
This photo was taken 13 years ago, when I was a third grade teacher with about 5 years of experience under my belt. We had just finished reading Where the Red Fern Grows and I surprised my students with a camping day as a reward. They were asked to bring a sleeping bag, a pillow, and a flashlight. Nothing more. I stayed late the afternoon before and transformed my classroom to a campsite, complete with a tissue paper campfire. The look on my students’ faces the next morning was priceless.
Yes, even 13 years ago we were accountable for statewide testing. No, my students didn’t come from an affluent neighborhood. I made a choice as an educator that day: to make learning fun. Engaging. Memorable.
See, at the end of the day, that’s what drew me to teaching in the first place. I had amazing teachers who made learning exciting and enjoyable; becoming an educator myself was a way of paying it forward to inspire others with the love of learning.
So tell me… What photo (or collection of photos) summarize YOU as an educator? Tag me in your Twitter or FB post so we can start this new year off with a bang!