Saturday, August 24, 2019

To the teacher who has had to change what they do this year....

Change is not a word most like to hear because it usually means getting out of what we view as comfortable. Some times we get to choose that change and sometimes that change is chosen for us. I've been through enough events in my life where the change has been chosen for me that I'm not a fan of it. I like to change on my terms, well God's terms...but I like it when He kind of lets me know what He's doing.  This is an honest and transparent post with the intent to encourage and maybe show an educator that needs to know they are not alone. In 14 years of education, I've changed rooms more times than I can count and changed what I do almost as much. Last year I had finally found a happy medium and was loving where I was at.  However, as we all know in education, change happens and the bigger picture that we cannot see dictates a lot. Change in what I do every day happened for this school year and it rocked my world. I was finally at a place where I had found purpose, was in that sweet spot of not just a job, and even on the hard days, I knew I was making a difference. Hear my heart......if you have moved (or are moving) grade levels, job titles, etc for this school year...don't let your feelings about the change take root. Embrace the unknown, knowing that God can take what looks like a mess right now and write a message in His time. I know it's not easy.....and I know sometimes we are put in situations that we didn't choose. It's in those moments that we have a choice to make.......do we put ourselves on autopilot and just do what has to be done, or do we choose to still try to do what we do every day with a spirit of excellence even when it exhausts us? Our feelings lean towards the first choice, but when we have discovered our purpose(i.e. to make a difference), we can lean towards the latter choice. 

I'm not trying to say I've got it figured out just yet, but I'm making progress. Find what drives your passion and make that happen where you are at. Maybe you love technology like I do, find ways to bring it into your instruction and let that creativity flow. It's those lessons about coding over the last couple of weeks that have been a match to a fire that's gone out. In time, the fire will be ablaze again, but the little spark that I've seen this week helps me to keep pressing on (even when I want to quit). So if you have found yourself changing content, grade levels, or positions like I have this school year.....find time to fuel your creativity because the Kids Deserve It. By all means, take care of you too....burn out is real this time of the year and a change in workload/content can expedite the process. Have time with God, Sleep when you can, watch the show that makes you laugh, and find ways to connect with people outside of your do. You are the difference-maker in your classroom and there is a message waiting to be heard through this year! 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Getting ready for AETC.....



When I first submitted this proposal for AETC my plan was to simply talk about tips and tricks and keep it surface level. This week though, as I've been thinking about the nuts and bolts of the presentation, I've been reflecting.  I've gone back and forth from everything needs to be tweeted or posted somehow because if you didn't take a picture it didn't happen to the I may or may not post it but it still happened because I know it did. I think we can all relate to one end of that spectrum or somewhere in the middle. It takes time to find that healthy balance between sharing just enough to oversharing.  This is a different kind of blog because I'm just going to be real for a few minutes and share my educator's heart. When I first started in the world of Twitter, I still had my account as private. I had no idea what I was doing and was still very much a newbie. Thankfully I found my way to an EdCamp in Mountain Brook and learned that day from Jennifer and Holly how to open up a whole new world via Twitter. I'm still learning how to share more about what I do on this network, but if we are honest, we are all works in progress at some point along the social media spectrum. 

This session will have those tips and tricks that I had in mind when I wrote the proposal, but I'm going to share it from my personal perspective. Things, I've learned along the way and things I'm still learning. I love presenting and sharing with other teachers, but I've also found out I'm much more comfortable around people I may not know personally than I am around those I do know. (That's a blog in itself). When I first started presenting I was a nervous, speed talker, let me throw a bunch of tools at you and hope something makes sense kind of presenter. Over the years my confidence level has grown with practice and time, and I've matured as a presenter. My heart as a presenter now is that teachers have something they can take back to their classrooms to use and feel like they can use it! I know time is precious for educators and meaningful professional development is priceless. That's why I share what I create and archive presentations on my live binder site (bit.ly/TechTreasures). If we can take off the lens of competition in this education world and realize that we are all in it for the same gain..to make a difference in the lives of the children that walk through our doors each year, oh how better off we would all be. I've also learned that sometimes we view leadership from an outside looking in perspective when leadership doesn't always mean you are seen and heard, but servant leadership does what it can to help others lead and be the best they can be.  Sharing our stories as educators should be a celebration for ourselves, it's not about how many likes we get, but about getting the message out of what we are doing to make a difference for children in hopes that it encourages and inspires someone else. 

So if you are at AETC next week, come join me Friday morning and let's talk more about this topic. If you aren't there, look for the presentation to be loaded later and shared on Twitter. A precious mentor of mine has always reminded me that I have a voice and a story that needs to be shared...and I'm passing on that same encouragement to others now. Don't let the need to please someone, the competitive cycle, or the feeling of not enough keeping you from sharing what you are doing. I promise you that you have a voice that others need to hear....so speak up and share it! I'm not saying the doubts will go away, but I can tell you from personal experience that confidence rises when you start to see you for who God had in mind when He made you and quit apologizing for who you don't seem to think you are (all because you are comparing yourself to someone else..). 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

A few things I've been up to since I haven't been posting ;-)

Time got away from me for the first part of 2019 and this blog didn't get the place it deserved on the to-do list. Here's to catching up several posts that should have been written over the last little bit. I'm working on my online portfolio this summer...so if you have attended one of my sessions over the years, listened to a webinar, or followed me online and would like to see me address something or post something etc. Let me know.....I have a list I'm working on, but I always feel like I'm missing something. Over the last nine years of presenting statewide, I've grown from here's a list of tools go research them on your own to figure out how to use them, to here are some tools now let's look at how to make them work in your classroom. My heart when I'm presenting a session, whether it's face to face or online, is that each participant has something they can take back to the classroom. If they have something they feel like they can use or at least try, then our time (mine and theirs) has been well spent.

I wish educators were more articulate and not afraid to share their voice and their story more, but that's a blog for another day. We have a story to share, a piece to contribute, and opinions that are valued. It's often times the ones who are quieter that may have more to share than anyone realizes. The focus has got to shift from competition to collaboration in the education world....when that happens and unity is present we will see even more amazing ripple effects. Collaboration is a skill that our students need to see modeled, they come in knowing how to compete. Our students also need to see self-confidence, not pride, modeled. They need to know it's okay to believe in what you do, to know you can do something well, but to also know that you can learn from others to grow even more. 

Now on to a few things I've had the honor of participating in so far this year. I mean it this time, there is more to come from this Techie Teacher as she reflects on the past year, looks ahead to the next year, and shares with teachers across the state this summer.

Ed Surge Article

PBIS Podcast Episode

Class Dismissed Podcast Episode


If you are still loving on your students in school, stay strong and focused. If you are already in summer, rest up and recharge. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

#oneword2019


I'm thankful for new years because it means a new start, a chance to reach goals again that weren't attained previously.  Looking back over 2018, I didn't do so well with my One Word (Being). If my word had been busy it might have been different. I went in with gusto for the year and my steam quickly went into just trying to keep up. I think we all have a tendency to do that if we don't have balance. One of the books I read last year for professional and personal me was Balance Like a Pirate.
If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend you add it to your list for this year. It was an easy read and very practical. Balance keeps burn out at bay and keeps us moving forward in this journey instead of barely keeping our heads above water. So on to 2019, not looking back at what didn't get finished in 2018....but looking ahead and making plans to give 2019 all I can. When I begin thinking about my one word for the year, I try to find one that works for me personally and professionally. This year throughout the last month of the year, the word intentional kept coming up in conversations, tweets, books etc. My word for the year is intentional. I want to look back at the end of 2019 and not feel like I was spinning my wheels or going around the same mountains, but to be able to look back and see growth. Things may not get checked off of the to-do list, but progress will be made towards goals. Goals professionally (not sure what those look like exactly right now be it NBCT or EDS), goals personally (decluttering and losing weight are a must)....but to move forward on any it will take doing things intentionally and with purpose. One thing I know is I've got to get back to intentionally sharing where I've been, what I'm doing etc. This means coming up with some new ideas for webinars and workshops, getting back to regularly posting on this blog, and renewing my presence on Twitter for chats and connecting with my PLN.  Our comfort zones as we see them are just boundaries that are meant to be moved. We grow when we pick up those zones and start walking forward with them knowing that we have something to offer and a voice that needs to be heard.

There are more blog posts to come, I've already started planning ahead with titles and content 😉

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Refocused for 2019

Several new posts coming soon....

I lost focus on this part of me during 2018. I didn't schedule a time to write so, therefore, time never happened. Over the break, I've been reading Girl Wash Your Face. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. There are some parts in there that some disagree with, but for me, it was that motivational kick that I needed to get back on my goals this coming year. So with that being said, I have lots of posts coming up and more of sharing my journey as an educator. As a wise mentor once told me, if you don't tell your story, who will. I think so many times we let the discussion going on within ourselves (no one will read it, no one cares what I have to say, I'm not_____) and we play the comparison game in which no one wins. We all have something valuable to share....so use your voice this coming year and let's all learn from each other. I'm ending this with some of my favorite quotes from Girl Wash Your Face. My One Word for 2019 post is coming tomorrow 




Sunday, February 4, 2018

Reflective PD learner

My mindset towards PD over the last couple of years has changed. I remember going to so many workshops one summer that I didn't know what I had learned at that point. I remember thinking I had notes in this bag from one week, notes on Evernote from another, and a list of apps and websites on my Ipad from yet another week. It was a summer experiencing learning, but looking back now I'm not sure how much of it was learning. I love learning and will often times find workshops on my own to continue to grow. I have a stack of books that people recommend, but now that I've shifted my thinking on just what professional development is for me...I read the books with a highlighter, pencil, and looking to find something I can tweet. If I'm reading just to read and not reflecting on what I've read or thinking about how I can share it with others, am I really learning anything? As educators, we know there is a difference the way the students react to learning for the sake of learning and learning that they own because they had a choice in it. 

A couple of summers ago, a mentor from my PLN encouraged me to blog after conferences to share my reflections and takeaways. This was a game changer for PD because it made me not just go back over what "tools" I could take away, but how I could apply those tools. It also made me start to reformat my role as a presenter and what content I shared. Did I want teachers to leave with a list of tools or tools plus content? Some sessions are a little of both ;-). 

The past two Saturdays I attended a couple of PD sessions. One was an AEA training and another an EdCamp. Takeaways were different from both. As an educator and a lover of learning, there is always something to be gleaned in each session if you are looking for it. As a presenter, it may even be a what not to do or how to improve, but there is something to learn. During the AEA day of learning, what stood out to me the most was a question asked in one of the sessions about leadership style. The presenter displayed a picture of Andy and Barney and asked what style is seen in your classroom? Think about that for a minute, educators. if someone is looking from the outside in, do you respond like Barney or like Andy? Barney reacts and Andy has a calmer way of dealing with things. Andy sees the bigger picture and Barney can only see what's right in front of him. Barney sees the behavior in the moment, while Andy works to understand why the behavior has surfaced. I could continue on and on with the list. The Andy style should be our goal and what we strive to demonstrate to not only that outsider looking in, but the students who are on the inside. Barney may happen at moments, but it shouldn't be the norm. Another of the sessions reminded educators to focus on everything the student brings to the learning table (It's not just about what takes place during the school day). 

EdCamp is always a day I look forward to because I get to see some of my PLN that I only see at tech events. This year the week had been long and my Friday night plans didn't allow for a lot of sleep before the day, so I wasn't sure what to expect. In the middle of the day, it was hard for me to pull away from the takeaways, but after a nap when I got home...they started to come. First, take away....that session you didn't expect to learn from are usually the ones that have a nugget or two. Two, being around enthusiastic teachers stirs something back up on the inside of you. Three, smackdown session never disappoints with a new tool. Last but not least, teacher voice is so important. I love how EdCamp encourages teachers to share something they are passionate about in a setting that makes it comfortable. 

Find something that you are passionate about this year and share it! Find an area where you need to grow and take a class or read a book (then share what you learn with others!)! I'll end with something Angela Maiers always says, The world needs your contribution. So educators make 2018 your year to share you! 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

#oneword2018

I haven't done very well with making this blog a priority, but that will change this year. I know I've said that before...but it's part of my #oneword for this year. You do what you make a priority and growing as an educator is going to be a priority this year. I know I've said it before, but having a PLN has been a game changer for me. It's opened my world to connections outside of my own little world in my system. It's spoken life when I wasn't sure I had any, and most of all it has been where I've been reminded over the last couple of years especially that I have a voice and something to share. So many times we let labels define what our voices are instead of letting our being define us. We are more than a label, more than a role...we all have a piece to add to the puzzle and a voice to add to the mix. As Angela Maiers as always says, the world needs your contribution. We all get discouraged at times and think we do not have anything to offer. Feelings are not truth and 2018 is the year for being to be louder than feeling. Let's not focus simply on making the moments count, but on making the moments matter.

I chose being for my #oneword this year. I wanted a word that would work for my personal life and my professional life. In my quiet times with God throughout the last month or so of 2017, the truth of feeling vs. being was a topic of discussion. The word never said we wouldn't feel certain ways, but it said to be. That's where the word being started to take root. My verse is Acts 17:28 where it says In Him we live and move and have our being.  I struggle sometimes with doubting my abilities and not thinking I have anything to offer. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the "I'm just a_____" that we lose sight of who we are. What we do isn't who we are and that's the theme for 2018. You have something to contribute, something to add to your school, your group of educators...share it. The hardest person to convince to believe in you is you. Don't put limits on you based on what has been said or not said...stay focused on your passions, what excites you...and find an avenue to share that. Twitter and blogs are a great resource for finding a connection. I've presented at state conferences, at ISTE a few years ago, and regularly present webinars for Simple K-12. Last year I also recorded a podcast episode for 10MT for Teachers (Vicki Davis). Yet I still had moments where my do overrode my who and I found myself going, am I making a difference, an impact. My do was focused on busy instead of focused on being. For me, the presentations are wonderful and I'm so thankful for the opportunities that continue...it's about connections though. It's in those connections where you find a purpose and a drive that keeps you going. It's those connections where you have that mentor that continues to remind you that you have a voice when you start to doubt you. It's in those connections that you are empowered to pour into other teachers what's been poured into you. At the end of the day....if we gave all we had if we did all we could, and if we loved all we met....then we are leaving an impact that not only counts but matters.

Educators be you this year and make a difference that will last beyond 2018.