|My husband, David, and I at the Music Hall.|
This was my son's Facebook post of me teaching our granddaughter how to work a puzzle at Christmas a few years back. My response was "...Just shows that teaching isn't just a profession; it's a way of life." That pretty much sums it all up for me. I have been called twice in my life. The first time was to be a follower of Christ, which has shaped my life daily. The second time was to be a teacher. Not just your run of the mill teacher, either. I didn't want to teach just any kids. I wanted to teach those who had just come to this country or were born to a family whose language was other than English. I wanted to make a difference!
I believe that everyone can learn and grow. I want to find any way to make learning easier for them and allow them to feel successful. I want to bring real life experiences to them as many of the great teachers did from which I learned. I am passionate about teaching and I love it when the kids have those "aha" moments. I love when people show growth and the rewards are great!
After about 20 years of teaching, I was starting to burn out. It seemed that everything that I did wasn't enough. The tests had changed and the accountability system no longer counted the growth of students, but just scores. I no longer felt successful. I was beginning to think that I wasn't able to reach them anymore. I was frustrated to the point of depression. I was too young to retire and too old to find another career, when I knew that this was where I was supposed to be. I hated that I wasn't moving the students to meet their potential.
I had almost lost my passion when the district purchased Promethean boards. I learned as much as I could about them. The students were engaged. I began to use the lab as an extension of my classroom. I began to use the Neoboards for more than just typing practice. The one computer was becoming more than just a reward and that's when the district offered me the chance to be one of two teachers to pilot the use of iPods in the classroom at the elementary level. It was the tipping point in my career. I once again was able to reach students who wouldn't even try before. We recorded our writing and listened back to it for revision. We listened to podcasts and old radio programs to work on reading skills through listening. We recorded our reading passages and learned how to read silently and greatly improved comprehension. Not only were the kids engaged and succeeding, but my passion was ignited again! My students had the highest scores on the tests than ever before!
I try to remember those times and experiences that I had when learning how to truly use technology to differentiate and reach all children, especially now that I am a technology facilitator. I want to inspire my teachers, students and administrators to be the best that they can be. I want to provide them with strategies, tools and encouragement any time that I can. I want to be sure that I am doing my job as it says in Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters." I don't always succeed at this, but thankfully, every day is a NEW day! I truly believe that all students can learn.